What is this purple flower?

wilson1(7 G'boro NC)October 24, 2009

This morning, a vendor at the Farmer's Market gave me these flowers, but he didn't know what they were. He thought 'Fire' was in the name. Does anyone know?


Here is a link that might be useful:

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Tammy Kennedy

I've not heard them with fire in the name, but i can see where that might happen. Usually they are called feather celosia or feather spike. They are a type of celosia spicata. If you turn the heads upside down in a bag and rattle them around, you'll get copious seed to scatter about your garden next spring for your own crop. You can wait til you use them in your arrangements- they dry nice and after the arrangement starts to look ratty, just do the bag thing then. Then dry them upside down tied with a rubber band or they'll flop. They are easy to grow.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 1:06PM
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wilson1(7 G'boro NC)

Thanks, Tamelask, that's just the info I needed. I was afraid if I put them out, they might take over the yard, but they are splashy and would make a nice addition to my garden.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 1:12PM
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Tammy Kennedy

They do reseed a lot, but the seedlings are pretty easy to ID and pull or thin if need be. I haven't found them to be invasive for me. I love the color blast they give.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:40PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

ooh, those are purty! But, I'm leery of any plant with 'spicata' in its name because of liriope spicata. That rampant spreader hopefully is spreading nicely in Jeff's yard.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 7:07PM
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wilson1(7 G'boro NC)

I thought "spicata" just meant "spike". Does that also mean that they spread like crazy?
(And who is Jeff? Tamelask?)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Tammy Kennedy

i don't know about spicata- i'd assume it was spike, also. They do reseed, but i've never had a problem with them being rampant. I don't know who jeff is, unless she means jeff the guy who posts sometimes.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 8:29PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Tam, you know Jeff Hayes. Big guy from Greenville SC. Great sense of humor. Used to post a lot, now not so much.

The spikes of spicata run underground and come up elsewhere, sort of like bermuda grass and you know how hard it is to get rid of that.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 7:00PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Maybe in liriope spicata they do, but not for celosia. It's a simple annual, not out to hurt anyone. No underground spikes that i've ever observed. :) Actually, i can't think of any annuals that spread like that, running some distance & popping up, can you? Is that what the latin really means or just what one of the definitions has come to mean, given the plants it's been assigned to? Guess that's sort of like asking chicken & egg ?. I never took latin but have picked up a little through learning plant names. One of my biggest regrets of HS.

Yeah, i thought that's the jeff you meant. I've never actually met him. So does jeff have the liriope or the celosia? I didn't quite catch your reference in that post, either.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 12:19AM
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spicata does mean "spiked", and many different taxa across many genera can have that in their botanical names. It has no correlation to "invasiveness". For example, there is also Amelanchier spicata, Veronica spicata, Liatris spicata, even Aloe spicata. Spiked refers to the shape of the inflorescence (floral cluster).

I've been familiar with the plant in the photo as a member of the "Spicata Group (form)" of the wild Celosia argentea (which is synonymous with Celosia cristata). There are also the "Cristata Group" (crested flowerheads) and the "Plumosa Group" (feather flowerheads) of this species, too.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 5:47PM
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