Cheerful, fun-looking flowers, almost like a lollipop on a stick. The straight stems are topped by a pom-pom of bright candy colours.
Native to Mexico where the Spaniards called it mal de ojos, because the flowers were small and considered ugly to the eye. First cultivated in Austria in 1613.
Virtually every colour except blue.
May to October
Inserting a small length of wire through the top of the flowers and down the stem will correct any kink that forms.
The name Zinnia comes from Johann Gottfried Zinn, a medical professor at Gottingen University who wrote a description of the flora around Gottingen. In 1753 he published a book on the anatomy of the eye, describing the eye in detail which is accurate even to this day. Johann Zinn died in 1759 but is remembered not only by the name of the flower but also by a part of the eye called Zinn's Zonule.
The Marchioness of Bute was sent the seeds of the Zinnia from Mexico by Professor Casimir Gomez de Ortego. The Marchioness was wife to the British Ambassador to Madrid and daughter-in-law to John Stuart Bute who was director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. Bute died after falling off a cliff whilst reaching for a rare plant.
In the language of flowers, Zinnia appropriately stands for "thoughts of absent friends".
Image courtesy of www.flowers.vg