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Zinnia grandiflora (Plains zinnia)
DiQuilio, Carol

Zinnia grandiflora

Zinnia grandiflora Nutt.

Plains Zinnia, Rocky Mountain Zinnia, Prairie Zinnia, Little Golden Zinnia, Yellow Zinnia

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Crassina grandiflora

USDA Symbol: zigr

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

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.


From the Image Gallery

27 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Size Notes: Up to about 8 inches tall.
Flower: Flower 1 inch
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AZ , CO , KS , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: KS to NV, s. to w. TX, AZ, & n. Mexico as far south as Zacatecas
Native Habitat: Dry, calcareous slopes & mesas

Growing Conditions

Water 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.


Use Ornamental: 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: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: 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: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Zinnia grandiflora in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Zinnia grandiflora in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Zinnia grandiflora


Record Modified: 2023-01-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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