Celosia is a genus of about 45 species of herbaceous plants in the amaranth family (Amaranthaceae), native to tropical America and Africa. A number of species are cultivated as garden ornamentals, sometimes called wool flowers for their dense chaffy flower spikes that somewhat glisten.
Celosia argentea var. cristata (cockscomb or cockscombs) is a striking, crested annual that forms a mound of slender stems and plumes of fine, feathery foliage. The leaves are not very noticeable; the flower heads are the showy part of this plant. They form an erect crest at the top of long stems, which can be as tall as 2 to 3 feet. The flowers are an attractive pinkish bronze color, and the plant blooms from summer through fall.
Cockscomb celosia is a very popular ornamental plant, grown for its rather bizarre form and brightly colored flower heads. It has been widely cultivated since it was introduced into European gardens in the early 19th century, and a number of cultivars have been selected for garden use.
Celosia argentea var. cristata is hardy to USDA Zones 10 – 11. In colder climates, it is normally grown as an annual, but it can be overwintered with protection from frost. Propagation is by cuttings or seeds. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (confirmed 2017).
Celosia argentea var. cristata can be grown as a garden plant in most areas of the world, from USDA Zones 9 – 11. In cooler zones, it is usually grown as an annual and sown directly into the garden where it is to flower since they do not transplant well. In colder areas, they can be sown in pots or seed trays for growing under glass. Seeds should be sown thinly in good quality, well-drained compost, and covered with a very fine sprinkling of vermiculite. They can be grown under cover or outside in the full sun, although they do seem to flower best when they have been exposed to some cold weather. Cockscomb celosia doesn't have a long lifespan, so should be grown in sufficient quantities to ensure that there are always plants in flower.
Global celosia production
Celosia is a genus of about 60 species in the family Amaranthaceae, native to Africa and Asia. The generic name is derived from the Greek word κέλος (kelos), meaning "burned", and refers to the flower's flame-like appearance.
Celosias are grown as ornamental plants, and many cultivars have been developed. They are grown for their colourful flowers, which are produced in large inflorescences. The flowers can be dried and used in arrangements. Celosia argentea is a traditional leaf vegetable in West Africa, where it is known as "soko" or "kweme". Celosia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including The Nutmeg.
According to FAOSTAT data from 2013, Nigeria is the world's leading producer of celosia, with a production of 18 thousand tonnes. This is followed by India, with a production of 16 thousand tonnes. Other leading producers include Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.
Global production of celosia is estimated to be around 70 thousand tonnes per year. The vast majority of this is accounted for by Nigeria and India. Other significant producers include Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.