‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ Cockscomb
Celosia argentea var. cristata
se-LO-see-uh ar-JEN-tee-uh kris-TAY-tuh
Synonyms of Celosia argentea (33) (Updated on 8-6-21): Amaranthus cristatus (L.) Noronha, Amaranthus huttonii H.J.Veitch, Amaranthus pyramidalis Noronha, Celosia argentea var. cristata (L.) Kuntze, Celosia argentea f. cristata (L.) Schinz, Celosia argentea var. margaritacea (L.) Iamonico, Celosia argentea var. mumbaiana M.R.Almeida, Celosia aurea T.Moore, Celosia castrensis L., Celosia cernua Roxb., Celosia cernua Andrews, Celosia coccinea L., Celosia comosa Retz., Celosia cristata L., Celosia cristata var. castrensis (L.) Iamonico, Celosia debilis S.Moore, Celosia huttonii Mast., Celosia japonica Houtt., Celosia japonica Mart., Celosia linearis Sweet ex Hook.f., Celosia margaritacea L., Celosia marylandica Retz., Celosia pallida Salisb., Celosia plumosa Barr & Sugden, Celosia purpurea J.St.-Hil., Celosia pyramidalis Burm.f., Celosia splendens Schumach. & Thonn., Celosia stricta Hornem., Celosia swinhoei Hemsl., Chamissoa margaritacea (L.) Schouw, Chamissoa stricta (Hornem.) Schouw, Lophoxera comosa (Retz.) Raf., Lophoxera racemosa Raf.
Celosia argentea L. is apparently the correct and accepted scientific name for the Cockscomb. The genus and species were both named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Celosia cristata L., now a synonym, was also named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the same edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Also a synonym, Celosia argentea var. cristata (L.) Kuntze was first named and described as such by Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze in Revisio Generum Plantarum in 1891. It is also considered a synonym but I use the name anyway because it is the variety of Celosia argentea, currently accepted or not. That is OK since the name was validly published…
Plants of the World Oline by Kew lists 46 species in the Celosia genus (as of 8-6-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Amaranthaceae with 186 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made.
The genus Celosia, the species Celosia argentea, and Celosia cristata were all named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. I believe, although not 100% certain, the Celosia argentea described by Linnaeus had “wheat-type” flowers which are referred to as “spicata” and were called Celosia spicata by many for years. That name, however, was for a completely different plant which is now a synonym of Deeringia spicata. Hmmm… I am still so confused about that one…
Formerly, crested Celosia was Celosia cristata, then the name was changed to Celosia argentea var. cristata. Now, it appears those names are synonyms of Celosia argentea and the crested forms are in the Cristata Group… Why couldn’t they just leave it as Celosia cristata or even Celosia argentea var. cristata? Actually, you can call it whatever you want, but the botanists “in charge” say the official name is now Celosia argentea when that name used to be for the plumed-type of cockscomb (which look nothing like a cock’s comb). GEEZ!
Wikipedia had information on Celosia, Celosia argentea, Celosia cristata, and Celosia argentea var cristata. Take your pick… All were updated in 2018. Oh yeah… they want to “merge” the last two. By the time you read this, the Wikipedia pages may be entirely different.
So, if you don’t mind, since this is my blog and I can use any name I choose, I am going with Celosia argentea var. cristata. According to what I have been told by people who actually know what they are talking about, anyone can choose what name they wish to use based on a published description. So, I choose the description by Mr. Kuntze from his description in Revisio Generum Plantarum in 1891. The Missouri Botanical Garden and Tropicos both still use the name Celosia argentea var. cristata as well but maybe they just haven’t updated… I will use parenthesis around “syn. var. cristata”… 🙂
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING.
I ordered seeds of the Celosia ‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ from Heirloom Acres in the spring of 2013. They are an old variety passed on to the owner by his aunt or mother. They grow easily to 3′ and have nice cockscomb that are a velvety reddish maroon of medium size. They produce a lot of side shoots, too. Now, truthfully, the flowers didn’t get as large as their catalog said they would. Not saying that theirs don’t, just that mine didn’t. I would plant them again, but Heirloom Acres seems to have gone out of business, or at least they aren’t online… Too many complaints of people not getting their orders (I was one of them in 2013). I should have saved seeds!!!
The seeds came up really well so I had plenty to transplant in two beds in the backyard and in the bed along the west sunroom at the mansion. I was standing next to the wall when the above photo was taken. The plant to the left is a Red Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’). The Celosia in the front of the bed is Celosia argentea var. spicata ‘Punky Red’. The purple plants are Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida). The plant overhead is Colocasia esculenta.
I really enjoyed growing this variety and hope to find seeds of them again. The true name of this variety may not be ‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ and probably no one even knows. I give plants names when I don’t know what their real name is, too. I name them after who I got them from or where I found them.
I always like growing taller plants for some reason even though they may require staking. There are many shorter Celosia argentea cultivars with large heads but I don’t care for them… SO, if you have seed of taller Cockscomb, I would be interested…
Celosia seed are fairly easy to germinate once you get the hang of it. They also self-sow. If you plant them inside, don’t cover the seed. You can press them into the soil a little if you want and water with a mister until they germinate. If you sow outside, you can cover with just a tiny about of soil. After all, you must remember, that Celosia self-sow and in nature, the seed lays on top of the ground and some get covered with leaves and soil as it snows and rains. Here in mid-Missouri, they have no problem germinating on their own.
I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know.