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Peruvian zinnia

Habit Annuals, mostly 30–50(–100) cm. Annuals, perennials, subshrubs, or shrubs, (3–)10–200(–400+) [2500+] cm.

greenish, becoming purplish or yellowish, unbranched or sparingly branched distal to bases, strigose.


blades 3–5-nerved, ovate to elliptic or broadly lanceolate, 25–70 × 8–35 mm, scabrellous.

usually cauline, sometimes mostly basal, or basal and cauline; opposite, alternate, or both; petiolate or sessile;

blades cordate, deltate, elliptic, lanceolate, linear, rhombic, orbiculate, or ovate (and intermediate shapes), often 1(–2+)-palmately or -pinnately lobed, ultimate margins entire or toothed, faces glabrous or hairy (often hispid or scabrous), often gland-dotted or stipitate-glandular.


10–50(–70) mm.


narrowly to broadly campanulate, 9–18 × 10–20 mm.

cylindric, or campanulate to hemispheric or broader, or rotate.


convex, conic, or flat, paleate (paleae usually falling, oblong to linear, herbaceous to chartaceous or scarious, usually conduplicate).

Ray florets


corollas usually scarlet red or maroon, sometimes yellow, laminae linear to spatulate, 8–25 mm.

usually (1–)3–40+, sometimes 0, usually pistillate and fertile, sometimes styliferous and sterile, or neuter;

corollas usually yellow to orange, sometimes pink to purple, red, brown, or white (sometimes sessile, persistent, and becoming papery, e.g., in Heliopsis, Sanvitalia, and Zinnia).

Disc florets


corollas yellow, 5–6 mm, lobes ca. 1 mm.

4–200+, bisexual and fertile, or functionally staminate;

corollas usually yellow to orange, sometimes brown, greenish, maroon, pink, purple, or red, rarely white or whitish, tubes shorter to longer than campanulate, cylindric, or funnelform throats, lobes (4–)5, deltate to lanceolate (usually equal);

anther thecae usually dark (collars not continuous around filaments);

stigmatic papillae usually continuous, sometimes none, rarely in 2 lines.


obovate to oblong, becoming scarious, glabrous, apices rounded, usually entire or erose, sometimes ciliate.

persistent or falling, usually 8–40+ in 2–4+ series, usually distinct, usually lanceolate, linear, orbiculate, or ovate, subequal or unequal (outer usually shorter, rarely longer, than inner).




usually radiate, sometimes discoid, borne singly or in cymiform, corymbiform, paniculiform, racemiform, or spiciform arrays.


7–10 mm, 3-angled (ray) or compressed (disc), ribbed, ciliate;

pappi usually of 1 stout awn 4–6 mm (from shoulders of cypselae).

obpyramidal or prismatic (3–4-angled), or terete to ovoid, or strongly compressed or flattened and ± orbiculate to obovate or cuneate (lengths seldom more than 2 times diams.), sometimes ribbed, sometimes winged, glabrous or hairy;

pappi usually persistent, sometimes fragile or readily falling, usually of scales, sometimes of bristles or bristlelike awns or coroniform, rarely of awns or 0.


red to purple or yellow, apices obtuse, erose or subentire.


= 24.

Zinnia peruviana

Asteraceae tribe Heliantheae subtribe Ecliptinae

Phenology Flowering summer–fall.
Habitat Rocky roadsides, ravines, calcareous soils
Elevation 1200–1600 m (3900–5200 ft)
from FNA
AZ; FL; GA; NC; SC; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies (Hispaniola) [Introduced in Asia (China), South Africa, Australia]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Mostly subtropical and warm-temperate North America; especially arid areas; also in the Old World

Zinnia peruviana is presumably native in southern Arizona and reported as naturalized in southeastern United States.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Genera 75, species 600 (31 genera, 124 species, including 4 hybrids, in the flora).

The circumscription of Ecliptinae adopted by H. Robinson (1981) and followed here differs from the treatment by P. O. Karis and O. Ryding (1994), who placed Eclipta as unassigned to a subtribe and placed Echinacea in Rudbeckiinae, Acmella, Heliopsis, Sanvitalia, and Zinnia in Zinniinae, Berlandiera, Chrysogonum, Engelmannia, Lindheimera, and Silphium in Engelmanniinae, and Balsamorhiza (including Agnorhiza), Borrichia, Calyptocarpus, Encelia, Enceliopsis, Flourensia, Geraea, Helianthella, Jefea, Lasianthaea, Melanthera, Pascalia, Phoebanthus, Sphagneticola, Synedrella, Verbesina, Wedelia, and Wyethia (including Scabrethia) in Verbesininae. Based on studies of chloroplast DNA sequences, J. L. Panero (2005) placed Encelia, Enceliopsis, Flourensia, Geraea, and Helianthella together in Enceliinae and Acmella in Spilanthinae, indicating a sister relationship between Spilanthinae and traditionally circumscribed Zinniinae.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Ray florets usually 5–21 (more in "double" cultivars), sometimes 0 (in Zinnia anomala, subshrubs or shrublets to 12 cm, leaves linear, Texas), corollas usually yellow to orange, sometimes purple, red, or whitish (usually persistent, sessile, becoming papery)
→ 2
1. Ray florets usually (2–)5–35, sometimes 0, corollas usually yellow to orange, sometimes white (seldom sessile, laminae usually borne on tubes, never persistent and becoming papery)
→ 4
2. Leaf margins serrate to coarsely toothed
2. Leaf margins entire
→ 3
3. Leaves petiolate or sessile; cypselae ± terete or obscurely 3–4-angled to compressed or flattened (all usually tuberculate and usually bearing uncinate hairs, none, some,or all in each head winged)
3. Leaves sessile; cypselae 3-angled or flattened (none with uncinate hairs, none winged)
4. Disc florets functionally staminate (only ray florets produce cypselae)
→ 5
4. Disc florets bisexual, fertile
→ 9
5. Phyllaries 8–10 in 2 series
→ 6
5. Phyllaries 12–45+ in (2–)3–4 series
→ 7
6. Perennials; leaves opposite, petiolate, margins crenate
6. Annuals; leaves mostly alternate (distal sometimes opposite), ± sessile, margins coarsely toothed (mostly distal 1/2)
7. Ray florets 8–35 (in 1–3 series); cypselae (shed alone without accessory structures)
7. Ray florets usually (2–)8(–13); cypselae (each shed together with subtending phyllary and 2–4 adjacent paleae and disc florets)
→ 8
8. Phyllaries usually 14–22 in 2–3 series (broadly obovate to orbiculate, without linear appendages); ray corollas pale yellow to orange-yellow (abaxially red to maroon or with greenish or red to maroon veins)
8. Phyllaries 18–24+ in ± 3 series (at least outer with relatively short, expanded, indurate bases and longer, linear, herbaceous tips); ray corollasyellow (without notably colored veins)
9. Leaves mostly basal, or basal and cauline, or cauline, mostly alternate
→ 10
9. Leaves mostly cauline, mostly opposite
→ 21
10. Cypselae prismatic, or nearly so, 3–4-angled
→ 11
10. Cypselae compressed to flattened
→ 15
11. Ray florets usually 8–21 (corollas mostly pink, red, purple, or white, yellow in E. paradoxa var. paradoxa, laminae often drooping or reflexed);receptacles mostly conic (heights often 2+ times diams.)
11. Ray florets (1–)5–25+ (corollas yellow or orange, laminae not drooping or reflexed), sometimes 0; receptacles flat to convex
→ 12
12. Leaves mostly basal (cauline usually notably smaller than basal); pappi 0
12. Leaves basal and cauline, or mostly cauline; pappi usually coroniform, sometimes of 1–4+ scales or 0
→ 13
13. Leaves mostly cauline (blades narrowly oblong to linear, 5–25 mmwide)
13. Leaves basal and cauline, or mostly cauline (blades mostly 30–120 mm wide)
→ 14
14. Leaves mostly elliptic, lanceolate, or oblong (basal and cauline, basal usually notably larger than cauline, cauline mostly sessile)
14. Leaves mostly orbiculate, ovate, or rounded-deltate (mostly cauline, mostly petiolate, proximal and distal usually ± similar)
15. Cypselae winged; pappi persistent, of 2(–3) scales (scales often aristate or subulate, without additional scales)
15. Cypselae sometimes thin-edged (margins sometimes ciliate or corky-thickened, never truly winged); pappi usually of (1–)2, subulate scales or bristlelike awns plus 2–4+ shorter scales, sometimes 0 (rarely of 2–3 aristate scales without additional scales)
→ 16
16. Perennials (scapiform); leaves all or mostly basal; involucres 20–30+ mm diam
16. Perennials (rarely scapiform), subshrubs, or shrubs; leaves usually cauline, sometimes basal and cauline; involucres 4–30 mm diam
→ 17
17. Perennials (rhizomatous); leaves linear to filiform
17. Perennials or shrubs (not rhizomatous); leaves mostly deltate, elliptic, lanceolate, or ovate (and most intermediate shapes, not linear to filiform)
→ 18
18. Ray florets 8–21, pistillate and fertile
18. Ray florets 0 or 8–40, neuter, or styliferous and sterile
→ 19
19. Subshrubs or shrubs (glabrous or ± scabrellous, usually vernicose); phyllaries 12–40 in 2–4+ series (subequal or unequal, outer longer)
19. Annuals, perennials, or shrubs (glabrous or canescent, hirtellous, scabrellous, strigose, or tomentose, often gland-dotted or glandular-puberulent to stipitate-glandular, seldom vernicose); phyllaries 18–30(–50+) in 2–3+ series (subequal or unequal, outer shorter)
→ 20
20. Perennials (E. nutans), subshrubs, or shrubs; pappi usually 0, sometimes fragile, of 2 weak, villous scales
20. Annuals or perennials; pappi usually persistent, of 2 subulate scales
21. Heads discoid (corollas white or whitish); pappi 0, or readily falling, of 2–12 barbellate bristles or awns
21. Heads radiate or discoid (corollas seldom white or whitish); pappi 0, or usually persistent and coroniform or cyathiform (each an erose, fimbriate, or lacerate cup, with or without additional awns or bristles, borne on rostrums), or of 2–4+ awns, bristles, and/or scales
→ 22
22. Pappi usually coroniform or cyathiform (cypselae often rostrate, each with apical boss or neck), sometimes 0 (prostrate perennials)
→ 23
22. Pappi usually of 2–4+ awns, bristles, and/or scales (not cyathiform, cypselae not rostrate), sometimes coroniform or 0 (not prostrate perennials)
→ 24
23. Subshrubs or shrubs (erect); cypselae (some or all) strongly compressed, nota-bly winged
23. Perennials (prostrate); cypselae strongly biconvex to plumply 3–4-angled (not com-pressed, not winged, epidermes usually corky, often tuberculate)
24. Some or all cypselae winged (each bordered by wing of membranous or corky tissue different from that of body of cypsela)
→ 25
24. Cypselae sometimes sharp-edged (not winged)
→ 27
25. Heads in glomerules or borne singly (sessile or subsessile in axils); cypselaewinged (rays, not discs, wings lacerate)
25. Heads borne singly or in corymbiform, dichasiiform, or paniculiform arrays (not sessile); cypselae winged (rays and discs, wings not lacerate)
→ 26
26. Phyllaries 9–30 in 1–4 series (outer 2–5 similar to others, unlike foliage); pappi of 2(–3) persistent (often aristate or subulate) scales without additional scales
26. Phyllaries 26–38+ in 3–4+ series (outer 2–6+ similar to foliage in shape, texture, and indument); pappi of 2–3 fragile or persistent awns or subulate scales plus 2–8+, distinct or basally connate, erose or lacerate scales (often each cypsela with additional seta on inner shoulder)
27. Cypselae 3–4-angled (weakly or not at all compressed or obcompressed, epidermes usually thick, corky)
→ 28
27. Cypselae (all or at least disc) strongly compressed or obcompressed or flattened (epidermes seldom thick and corky)
→ 30
28. Corollas white or whitish (paleae linear-filiform, not conduplicate)
28. Corollas yellow to orange (paleae lanceolate to ovate, conduplicate)
→ 29
29. Leaves elliptic, linear, oblanceolate, obovate, or ovate, glabrous or puberulent to villous and/or sericeous (outer phyllaries elliptic, oblanceolate, or ovate)
29. Leaves lanceolate to lance-linear, sparsely scabrous (outer phyllaries lance-linear to linear)
30. Annuals or perennials (mostly 5–30+ cm; larger leaves mostly 1–5+ cm); involucres 3–8 mm diam.; phyllaries 5 in 1(–2) series, or 8–15+ in 1–3 series
→ 31
30. Perennials (coarse, 10–150 cm; larger leaves mostly 5–25 cm); involucres 10–30 mm diam.; phyllaries 12–35 in 2–5 series
→ 32
31. Disc florets 25–100(–200+); receptacles conic; cypselae ellipsoid to obovoid; pappi 0, or fragile, of 1–3 bristlelike awns
31. Disc florets 10–20; receptacles convex; cypselae cuneate; pappi of 2(–5+) stout awns
32. Leaf blades oblanceolate to lanceolate or lance-linear (longer usually 8–25 cm), margins entire
32. Leaf blades rounded-deltate to ovate or lance-ovate (longer usually 5–8 cm),margins coarsely serrate
Source FNA vol. 21, p. 73. FNA vol. 21, p. 64.
Parent taxa Asteraceae > tribe Heliantheae > subtribe Ecliptinae > Zinnia Asteraceae > tribe Heliantheae
Sibling taxa
Z. acerosa, Z. anomala, Z. grandiflora, Z. violacea
Subordinate taxa
Acmella, Agnorhiza, Balsamorhiza, Berlandiera, Borrichia, Calyptocarpus, Chrysogonum, Echinacea, Eclipta, Encelia, Enceliopsis, Engelmannia, Flourensia, Geraea, Helianthella, Heliopsis, Jefea, Lasianthaea, Lindheimera, Melanthera, Pascalia, Phoebanthus, Sanvitalia, Scabrethia, Silphium, Sphagneticola, Synedrella, Verbesina, Wedelia, Wyethia, Zinnia
Synonyms Chrysogonum peruvianum, Z. multiflora subtribe Enceliinae, subtribe Engelmanniinae, subtribe Spilanthinae, subtribe Verbesininae, subtribe Zinniinae
Name authority (Linnaeus) Linnaeus: Syst. Nat. ed. 10, 2: 1221. (1759) Lessing: Linnaea 6: 153. (1831)
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