Smithsonian Contr. Knowl. 3(5): 105. 1852
Phenology: Flowering spring–fall.
Habitat: Rocky open slopes, flats, calcareous soils
Elevation: 700–1900 m
Ariz., N.Mex., Tex., Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Zacatecas).
Attribution of Zinnia acerosa to Utah (S. L. Welsh et al. 1993) was based on Atwood et al. 9704 (BRY), from Moab, Grand County; the specimen was indicated as “possibly cultivated” by the collector, and it is well outside the known range of the species.