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The Master of Colorful Decoration ─ Cockscomb
It is generally cultivated in the countryside, and is the representative flower praying for many descendants as globe amaranth. It also could be found in the situations, such as parterre landscape layout, floral design decoration, and religious worship, etc. At present, it is cultivated and propagated both in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Because of that, many varieties with different flower colors and traits are bred by the efforts of breeders, it becomes a world-famous ornamental flower. It is the flower familiar with the public ─ cockscomb.
Cockscomb is an annual plant classified into theCelosia genus of the Amaranthaceae family. Its spike inflorescence is constituted by many small flowers with kinds of colors, such as red, yellow, orange, pink, spotted, etc. By the shape of the inflorescence, it could be classified into three types as follows:C. argentea var. spicata, C. argentea var. cristata, andC. argentea var. plumosus. If classified by plant height, there are dwarf, semi-dwarf, and tall varieties. The application of cockscomb includes cut flowers, pot plants, flower arrangements, and landscape plantings. It could be propagated from seeds all year round. The black tiny seeds (fig. 1) are heliophilous, that is to say, seeds should not be covered with soil after sowing. They would germinate in 2-3 days and bloom about 35-45 days after germination. The environment suitable for cockscomb is hot and fully light. If the light is insufficient to the plants, the phenomenon of weak and excessive growth would occur. It could be cultivated all year round, and is especially suitable in summer. Loam and sandy loam soil are the better cultural media for it. The growth of the plant would be more robust in the cultural media with well drainage and aeration, and the cultural environment should avoid overwatering and poor aeration. Because the plant has a taproot system, damages to the taproot during the transplantation would affect its growth. Therefore, plug system seedlings are more preferred (fig 2.).
Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation station, COA indicates that cockscomb has been utilized for landscape plantings gradually in recent years. For instance, in the landscape design of the flower exhibition area of Xinshe Flower Sea Festival conducted by TSIPS, COA, cockscomb could highlight its bright colors in either the large scale cultivation or small area embellishment use (Fig. 3). It also plays an important role in the flower landscape designs and the constructions of the beautiful flower sea. It could be said that cockscomb is the most colorful, bright dazzling, eye-catching, and lingering decoration master among all kinds of flowers.
Fig.1 Black tiny seeds of cockscomb.
Fig.2 Seedlings of cockscomb by plug system.
Fig.3 Utilization of cockscomb for large scale landscape planting.
Contact:Sean Huang,Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station,COA