Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster family).
Native of Mexico.
Common relatives include sunflower, yarrow, chrysanthemum and dahlia.
Fully double, dahlia-shaped flowers, 2-3 inches across, with one flower per stem.
Stems have a few coarse leaves, up to 24 inches long.
Plant is an annual, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
They can be stored wet at 36-38 F up to 5 days. Storage for seven days at 34F can be detrimental. Some data suggests that this species is chill sensitive and should be stored no lower than 41F.
Named for Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759), a professor of medicine at Goettingen, Germany. The specific epithet name “elegans” means elegant.
In its native Mexico, the zinnia was called “mal de ojos” by the Spaniards, who considered it ugly to the eye. However, Chain of Life Network member Terri Doyle reports that the “mal de ojos” meant they were so bright they hurt your eyes!
Most modern zinnia cultivars are the result of crosses with the descendents of a single plant (known in the trade as “Old 66”) found in an experimental planting at the Burpee Seed Co.
Often grown in home gardens for cut flowers. Smaller types can be used in border gardens and planter boxes. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology lists this species as an allergy-safe pollen producing plant. Harvest flowers when fully open.
The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a “composite” of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one “petal” off at a time, saying “she/he loves me, loves me not”, they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
Recent Research Findings:
Gast and Stevens (1993) showed that ‘Lilliput’, ‘State Fair’ and ‘Ruffles’ could be stored for 4 days at 35-43F with little loss in quality. It was only at storage day 7 that significant vaselife reduction was noted. Starman et al. (1995) rated this species (‘Scarlet Splendor’) as being an average to good income producer.