5. Celosia cristata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 205. 1753.
Celosia argentea Linnaeus var. cristata (Linnaeus) Kuntze
Herbs, annual. Stems erect, mostly 0.3-1 m, glabrous. Leaves: petiole 1-3 cm; blade unlobed, variable, mostly lanceolate or ovate, 8-15 × 1-8 cm, base tapering, apex long-acuminate. Inflorescences variously fasciated, dense, crested or plumose. Flowers: tepals pink, red, yellow, purple, or white, faintly 3-veined at base, 5-8 mm, scarious; style elongate, 3-4 mm; stigmas 3. Utricles 3-4 mm. Seeds 6-10, 1.5 mm diam., faintly reticulate, shiny. 2n = 72.
Flowering late summer-fall. Trash dumps, waste places; 0-1000 m; introduced; Ala., Conn., D.C., Kans., La., Mo., N.C., Ohio, R.I., Tenn., Vt.; West Indies.
In this treatment, Celosia cristata, the cultivated cockscomb, is considered a species separate from C. argentea, its likely wild progenitor; however, it is often treated as an infraspecific entity (variety or form) of the latter. The former is a tetraploid; the latter, an octoploid, although a tetraploid race of C. argentea is known in India (T. N. Khoshoo and M. Pal 1973). Convincing evidence has been presented for recognizing this cytologically and morphologically distinct race as a separate species (W. F. Grant 1961, 1962). Celosia cristata is known only in cultivation or as an escape from cultivation.