Plants of the Celosia genus, coming from the tropical regions of Central America, Africa and Asia, are herbaceous, that is, without woody stem (nonwoody), perennial, but generally cultivated as annuals for ornamental purposes and, in some cases, also food.
They are part of the Amaranthaceae, a family that includes about one hundred and seventy-five genera and over two thousand five hundred.
According to what is reported by the 'Glossaire de botanique, ou, Dictionnaire йtymologique de tous les noms et termes relatifs а cette science' written by Alexandre Etienne Guillaume baron of Thйis and published in Paris in 1810, the name Celosia derives from the Greek κήλεος, kéleos or burnt .
The hues and the peculiar shape of the inflorescences are spectacular and often emphasized during the selections. In the language of flowers, these plants symbolize immortality and the prolongation of a feeling over time.
The Celosia habit is erect and compact, the underground apparatus, formed by the roots, modest. The alternate leaves do not have stipules or appendages arranged symmetrically at the base of the petiole, the structure that supports the leaf; the color varies from dark green to acid green.
Species and varieties of Celosia
The Celosia argentea, native of tropical Asia, has produced several varieties for this reason it is a very well known species. Also known as white amaranth, it has a pyramid-shaped structure and silvery or pearly white flowers.
The leaves, generally large and elongated, oval or lanceolate, have evident veins and are, to the touch, rather rough. The height is variable, on average it is around 40 centimeters.
Celosia argentea cristata, which is mentioned among the plants cultivated in Egypt during the Ptolemaic period (from 332 BC - to 30 BC), seems to have been introduced in Europe, precisely in France, around the middle of the sixteenth century. It can reach 30 centimeters in height; the inflorescences, 10 to 12 centimeters wide, are made up of bright red or yellow flowers inserted on a central spine.
The term cristata means equipped with a ridge; for this feature, which recalls the fleshy appendage with the jagged edge present on the head of the gallus, it is commonly called the cockscomb, cockcomb or crete de coq. Used mainly for ornamental purposes, in some areas of western Africa, Nigeria in particular, and Southeast Asia, it is used as a side dish in the preparation of local dishes because the leaves and buds of the flowers are edible. But not only. American studies seem to have recognized this plant as healing properties; in traditional Chinese medicine, TCM, for example, the small black and rounded seeds are used in cases of hypertension, vision problems and itchy eyes.
The species Celosia argentea plumosa, also called feathery amaranth, is very branched; the height varies from 40 to 60 centimeters, in the dwarf varieties from 20 to 30 centimeters. Since dried flowers do not lose color, it is often used to prepare compositions or, more generally, for decorative purposes.
The silver Celosia is also depicted in the paintings of the Flemish painter Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568 - 1625) and in seven different stamps, three issued by Japan (two on 3 September 2013 - seasonal flowers, 7th series and one on 5 September 2014 named Cream Bear and Celosia argentea - autumn 2014 greetings series), one from the People's Republic of the Congo (10 February 1971), one from Cameroon (17 March 1975), two from North Korea (one on 12 March 1987 series of butterflies and flowers and one on April 15, 2013 pulled in 50,000 copies and depicting a red cockcomb).
Celosia needs sun, light, but it fears the wind and cannot resist temperatures below 10-15 ° C. The optimal temperature is around 20-23 ° C; above 40 ° C the plant suffers.