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For other uses, see Zinnia (disambiguation).
Zinnia x hybrida.jpg
Zinnia × hybrida flower and foliage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Heliantheae[1][2]
Genus: Zinnia
Type species
Chrysogonum peruvianum
Stereo image
Right frame 
Zinnia seeds resemble arrow heads

Zinnia is a genus of plants of the sunflower tribe within the daisy family.[4][5] They are native to scrub and dry grassland in an area stretching from the Southwestern United States to South America, with a centre of diversity in Mexico. Members of the genus are notable for their solitary long-stemmed flowers that come in a variety of bright colors. The genus name honours German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727–59).[6]


Zinnias are annuals, shrubs, and sub-shrubs native primiarily to North America, with a few species in South America.[7] Most species have upright stems but some have a lax habit with spreading stems that mound over the surface of the ground. They typically range in height from 10 to 100 cm tall.[8] leaves are opposite and usually stalkless (sessile), with a shape ranging from linear to ovate, and pale to middle green in color. The flowers have a range of appearances, from a single row of petals, to a dome shape, with the colors white, chartreuse, yellow, orange, red, purple, and lilac.[6]


accepted species[2][9]
  1. Zinnia acerosa - UT AZ NM TX Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Michoacán, Zacatecas, Sonora
  2. Zinnia americana - Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, México State, Nayarit, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
  3. Zinnia angustifolia - Jalisco, Durango, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosí
  4. Zinnia anomala - TX, Coahuila, Nuevo León
  5. Zinnia bicolor - Chihuahua, Durango, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Nayarit, Sinaloa
  6. Zinnia citrea - Chihuahua, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí
  7. Zinnia elegans from Jalisco to Paraguay; naturalized in parts of USA
  8. Zinnia flavicoma - Michoacán, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Jalisco
  9. Zinnia grandiflora - AZ NM TX OK KS CO Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora
  10. Zinnia haageana - Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, México State, Oaxaca
  11. Zinnia juniperifolia - Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila
  12. Zinnia maritima - Guerrero, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Sinaloa
  13. Zinnia microglossa - Guanajuato, Jalisco
  14. Zinnia oligantha - Coahuila
  15. Zinnia palmeri - Colima, Jalisco
  16. Zinnia peruviana - widespread from Chihuahua to Paraguay including Galápagos and West Indies; naturalized in parts of China, South Africa, USA
  17. Zinnia purpusii - Chiapas, Guerrero, Colima, Jalisco, Puebla
  18. Zinnia tenuis - Chihuahua
  19. Zinnia venusta - Guerrero
  20. Zinnia violacea - Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela
formerly included[2]

see Glossocardia Philactis

Zinnia elegans, also known as Zinnia violacea, is the most familiar species, originally from Mexico and thus a warm–hot climate plant. Its leaves are lance-shaped and sandpapery in texture, and height ranges from 15 cm to 1 meter.[6]

Zinnia angustifolia is another Mexican species. It has a low bushy plant habit, linear foliage, and more delicate flowers than Z. elegans – usually single, and in shades of yellow, orange or white. It is also more resistant to powdery mildew than Z. elegans, and hybrids between the two species have been raised which impart this resistance on plants intermediate in appearance between the two. The Profusion series, with both single and double-flowered components, is bred by Sakata of Japan, and is among the most well-known of this hybrid group.

Zinnias seem to be a favorite of butterflies, and many gardeners add zinnias specifically to attract them.[10][11]


Zinnias are popular garden flowers because they come in a wide range of flower colors and shapes, and they can withstand hot summer temperatures, and are easy to grow from seeds.[12] They are grown in fertile, humus-rich, and well-drained soil, in an area with full sun. They will reseed themselves each year. Over 100 cultivars have been produced since selective breeding started in the 19th century.

Zinnia peruviana was introduced to Europe in the early 1700s. Around 1790 Z. elegans (Zinnia violacea) was introduced and those plants had a single row of ray florets which were violet. In 1829, scarlet flowering plants were available under the name 'Coccinea'. Double flowering types were available in 1858, coming from India, and they were in a range of colors including shades of reds, rose, purple, orange, buff, and rose stripped.[7]

A number of species of zinnia are popular flowering plants, and interspecific hybrids are becoming more common.[7] Their varied habits allow for uses in several parts of a garden, and their tendency to attract butterflies and hummingbirds is seen as desirable. Commercially available seeds and plants are derived from open pollinated or F1 crosses, and the first commercial F1 hybrid dates from 1960.[7]


Companion plants[edit]

In the Americas their ability to attract hummingbirds is also seen as useful as a defense against whiteflies, and therefore zinnias are a desirable companion plant, benefiting plants that are intercropped with it. Zinnias are grown in the summer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Genus Zinnia". Taxonomy. UniProt. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  3. ^ "Genus: Zinnia L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. October 5, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1759. Systema Naturae, Editio Decima 2: 1189, 1221, 1377 in Latin
  5. ^ Tropicos, Zinnia L.
  6. ^ a b c Flora of North America, Vol. 21 Page 7, Zinnia Linnaeus
  7. ^ a b c d Neil O. Anderson (4 October 2007). Flower Breeding and Genetics: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century. Springer. pp. 338–. ISBN 978-1-4020-6569-9. 
  8. ^ http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=135326
  9. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
  10. ^ Bees pollinate the florets of Zinnias. The rarest of zinnias are white. Zinnias can be dwarf with more flowers than tall zinnias. Zinnias can only be grown in the seeds. Once dried the seeds are useful for making teas. Dried florets have been good for reproducing the next generation. It won't produce the same color. The parent will die and the offspring will produce mixed of colors. "Monarch Watch". The Kansas Biological Survey, Univ of Kansas. May 27, 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Saving Butterflies Insect Ecologist Spearheads Creation of Oases for Endangered Butterflies". ScienceDaily. January 1, 2005. Retrieved May 27, 2008. 
  12. ^ Singh, A.K. (1 January 2006). Flower Crops: Cultivation and Management. New India Publishing. pp. 403–. ISBN 978-81-89422-35-6. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Zinnia at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Zinnia at Wikispecies