Cosmos bipinnatus Cav.

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Cosmos bipinnatus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near base of Domboshawa Hill

Cosmos bipinnatus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Near base of Domboshawa Hill

Cosmos bipinnatus

Photo: Bart Wursten

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Bidens formosa (Bonato) Sch. Bip.
Common names: Cosmos (English)
Frequency: Frequent
Status: Introduced
Annual herb to c.1 m. Leaves: petiole 0 or widened and clasping, to 4 cm; lamina 6-11 × 3-5 cm, ovate in outline, deeply dissected with ultimate segments c. 1 mm wide, linear. Capitula up to c. 2 cm diameter (excluding rays), solitary on terminal and side branches. Phyllaries: outer c. 1 cm, ovate with a long-acuminate apex; inner shorter. Receptacular scales c. 7 mm with a linear appendage, c. 2 mm. Rays up to 4 cm, c. 8, pink, white or lilac; apex 3-dentate. Disk florets yellow. Achenes 7-16 mm, blackish. Pappus of 2-3 forward-pointing setae or 0.
Notes: This is the well-known Cosmos, the massed flowers of which create spectacular splashes of colour in late summer. Two colour forms are pictured above.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: On roadsides, edges of fields and disturbed ground.
Altitude range: (metres)
Flowering time:Feb - May
Worldwide distribution: Native of Central America and the West Indies.
Zimbabwe distribution: W,C,E
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: spilosoma lineata (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Monday 19 March 2007

Baumann, G. (2005). Photographic Guide to Wildflowers of Malawi Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Pages 164 - 165. (Includes a picture).

Beentje, H.J. & Ghazanfar, S.A. (eds.) (2005). Compositae (Part 3) Flora of Tropical East Africa Page 808.

Wild, H. (1967). The Compositae of the Flora Zambesiaca area. 1. Heliantheae. Kirkia 6(1) Pages 32 - 33. as Bidens formosa


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Other sources of information about Cosmos bipinnatus:

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi: Cosmos bipinnatus
Flora of Zambia: Cosmos bipinnatus
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Cosmos bipinnatus

External websites:

African Plant Database: Cosmos bipinnatus
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Cosmos bipinnatus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cosmos bipinnatus
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Cosmos bipinnatus
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Cosmos bipinnatus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Cosmos bipinnatus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cosmos bipinnatus
Ispot Southern Africa : Cosmos bipinnatus
JSTOR Plant Science: Cosmos bipinnatus
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Cosmos bipinnatus
Tropicos: Cosmos bipinnatus
West African Plants database: Cosmos bipinnatus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Cosmos bipinnatus., retrieved 22 October 2016

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