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Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Zinnia grandiflora Nutt.
Rocky Mountain zinnia, Little golden zinnia, Yellow zinnia, Plains zinnia, Prairie zinnia
USDA Symbol: zigr
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This low-growing perennial is a 6-8 in., mound-shaped plant with numerous bright-yellow, 3- to 6-rayed flowers. There are usually several, much-branched stems from a woody base, making the plant almost shrub-like. Tiny, needle-like leaves form a mossy mat when plant is not in bloom. Several short, leafy, slightly woody stems in a low, round clump have numerous small flower heads with 3-6 nearly round yellow-orange rays.
The genus “zinnia” was named by Linneas in honor of Johann Gottfried Zinn. Zinn was a German anatomist, ophthalmologist, and botanist born in 1727 and died in 1759 (in Germany). He was extraordinary professor of medicine and director of the botanical gardens in the university town of Gottingen. He was one of the first to render an accurate description of the eyeball and he investigated the vessels and nerves of the eye cavity. He collected seeds of Z. elegans (from which the garden Zinnia descends) in Mexico. There he was accosted by bandits who, after searching his bag, left him alone, believing him crazy and therefore unlucky.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Flower:
Flower 1 inch
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
AZ , CO , KS , NM , OK , TX Native Distribution:
KS to NV, s. to w. TX, AZ & n. Mex. Native Habitat:
Dry, calcareous slopes & mesas USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, calcareous soils. Sandy Loam, Sandy, Gravelly, Limestone/chalky, Limestone-based, Caliche type.
Conditions Comments: This plant is ideal for dry, gravelly rock gardens, parkways, and medians, as well as well-drained flower gardens. Because it spreads by rhizomes, plains zinnia is also good for erosion control on steep, sandy slopes. Its color lasts most of the summer.
Showy, Erosion control, Rock gardens, Perennial
garden, Border, Rocky hillside Use Wildlife:
Rocky Mountain zinnia attracts butterflies. Flowers-Butterflies & moths, Flowers-Syrphid flies, Pollen-Butterflies , Pollen-Moths, Pollen-Bees, Nectar- bees, Nectar- butterflies, Nectar-Moths, Nectar-Butterflies, Nectar-Bees Conspicuous Flowers:
Sow seed in fall or spring. Germination rates are often low. Divide young plants in spring. Treated herbaceous
cuttings with some woody base will give moderate results. Take cuttings in late spring. Seed Collection:
Seeds break easily when machine-cleaned, thus are seldom commercially available. Seed Treatment:
Cold-moist stratification may enhance germination rate. Commercially Avail:
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Record Modified: 2012-06-02
Research By: TWC Staff