Celosia

Linnaeus

Sp. Pl. 1: 205. 1753

Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 96. 1754

Common names: Cockscomb
Etymology: Greek keleos, burning, alluding to color and/or appearance of the inflorescence of C. cristata
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 407. Mentioned on page 406.
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.

Distribution

Primarily tropical, subtropical Americas, Asia, and Africa.

Discussion

Species ca. 65 (5 in the flora).

Key

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