‘Heirloom Giant Burgundy’ Cockscomb
Celosia argentea var. cristata
se-LO-see-uh ar-JEN-tee-uh kris-TAY-tuh
Celosia argentea L. is apparently the correct and accepted scientific name for the Cockscomb. It was described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Celosia cristata L., now a synonym, was also described by Carl von Linnaeus in the same edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Celosia argentea var. cristata (L.) Kuntze was first described as such by Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze in Revisio Generum Plantarum in 1891.
The genus Celosia, the species Celosia argentea and Celosia cristata were named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
It was also described as Celosia argentea f. cristata (L.) Schinz by Hans Schinz in the second edition of Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien in 1934.
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).
The Wikipedia has 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 completely 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 are still using Celosia argentea var. spicata as an accepted name.
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 var. cristata 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. 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.