Herbs or subshrubs, annual or perennial. Stems erect or clambering-straggling. Leaves alternate, petiolate; blade mostly lanceolate, ovate, or deltate. Inflorescences terminal and often axillary spikes or panicles, often fasciated in cultivated forms, many-flowered. Flowers bisexual; tepals 3–5, distinct, membranous or scarious, usually glabrous; filaments connate basally into cups; anthers 4-locular; pseudostaminodes absent; ovules 3–many; style persistent, 0.2–4 mm; stigmas 2–3, capitate or subulate. Utricles ovoid, membranaceous, dehiscence centrally circumscissile. Seeds (2–)3–many, black, flattened. x = 9.
Primarily tropical, subtropical Americas, Asia, and Africa.
Species ca. 65 (5 in the flora).
|1||Styles 3-4 mm; inflorescences dense, cylindric, 13-20 mm diam. spikes, or fasciated, crested or plumose||> 2|
|1||Styles 0.2-1 mm; inflorescences lax spikes or panicles, units less than 10 mm diam||> 3|
|2||Inflorescences cylindric or ovoid spikes; tepals silvery white or pinkish||Celosia argentea|
|2||Inflorescences fasciated, crested, or plumose; tepals pink, red, yellow, purple, or white||Celosia cristata|
|3||Plants annual herbs; tepals silvery, whitish, or tannish, 1-veined, 2-3 mm||Celosia trigyna|
|3||Plants perennial herbs, subshrubs, or shrubs; tepals green, greenish white, pinkish green, or white with reddish base, drying tan, striate, 3.5-6(-7) mm||> 4|
|4||Leaf blades deltate to triangular-lanceolate, not lobed; stigmas 3.||Celosia nitida|
|4||Leaf blades moderately hastate, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate; stigmas 2.||Celosia palmeri|