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any species of the genus Zinnia of the family Asteraceae (asteraster
[Gr.,=star], common name for the Asteraceae (Compositae), the aster family, in North America, name for plants of the genus Aster, sometimes called wild asters, and for a related plant more correctly called China aster (Callistephus chinensis
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 family), native chiefly to Mexico, though some range as far north as Colorado and as far south as Guatemala. The common zinnia of gardens (Z. elegans), called also youth-and-old-age, is a rather coarse, easily cultivated annual, popular as a cut flower for its warm colors—ranging from white and yellow to red and purple—and for its bold, stiff aspect. There are various forms in cultivation, including dwarfed, curled, and double varieties. The zinnia is the state flower of Indiana. Zinnias are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs of the family Compositae. The leaves are opposite or entire. The inflorescences are generally large solitary heads; the receptacle is tunicate. The ray flowers are brightly colored, ranging from white, yellow, and orange to red and purple. The disk flowers range in color from yellow to brown-red.

There are 17 species, distributed at elevations to 2,550 m in southwestern North America and in Central America. One species occurs in South America. Several species of zinnia have long been raised as garden ornamentals. Especially popular is Z. elegans, which is native to Mexico and was imported to Europe in the 18th century. An herbaceous annual measuring 30–90 cm tall, Z. elegans has single or double flower heads and an erect branching stem. The species is divided, according to the type of inflorescence, into seven groups. Two of the groups—giant forms (or dahlia-flowered forms) and Liliputians—occur in the USSR. Giant zinnias reach 70 cm in height, and their inflorescences measure 10–14 cm across. Varieties include King Orange, Pink, and Scharlach. Liliputian zinnias are low-growing plants, with inflorescences measuring 3–6 cm across. Varieties include Red Cap and Tom Thumb.

Zinnias thrive in various soils; they are resistant to drought but not to frost. In the central part of the European USSR the seed is sown in protected ground in April or March; the seedlings are set out after the spring frosts. Flowering occurs eight to ten weeks after sowing. Zinnias are raised for cut flowers or as large flower groups on lawns, as plantings in flower beds, or as borders.


Kiselev, G. E. Tsvetovodstvo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


any annual or perennial plant of the genus Zinnia, of tropical and subtropical America, having solitary heads of brightly coloured flowers: family Asteraceae (composites)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The virtues of this amazing flower are many, but I especially love zinnias because they attract pollinators, which every healthy garden so desperately needs.
However, some of the zinnia plants aboard the floating laboratory pulled through due to collaboration between the astronauts and the ground team at Kennedy.
I usually plant the seeds of tender annuals -- sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, China asters, to name a few -- directly in the ground, when things warm up in early May, about the same time the lilacs begin to bloom.
'Cactus Orange', which you can mix with blue, or the Zinnia Sprite Series, where you can combine the different colours including gold, magenta and orange, for a stunning effect.
FANTASTIC: Prepare now for a great summer display of scarlet flame cannas SOW GOOD: Zinnias, left, give brilliant summer colour and now is the time to check stored fruit, along with gourds, above, squashes and marrows
There were those alice-blue powder puffs known as ageratum, and zinnias, for I love zinnias!
Saving the best for last, zinnias are a cutting garden must.
Zinnias are so easy to grow from seed - but one thing you must remember is that they really dislike root disturbance.
Zinnias love hot weather, attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are economical.
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The feathery foliage and pretty daisy-like flowers in pink, white, red and yellow combine well in the vase with zinnias, sweet peas and sunflowers.
* Zinnias - If grown in good soil, zinnias produce resilient and beautiful flowers.