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.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 10.

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 146.

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 23. as Bidens formosa

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 29.

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

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 Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Cosmos bipinnatus
African Plant Database: Cosmos bipinnatus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Cosmos bipinnatus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Cosmos bipinnatus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Cosmos bipinnatus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Cosmos bipinnatus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Cosmos bipinnatus
JSTOR Plant Science: Cosmos bipinnatus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Cosmos bipinnatus
Plants of the World Online: Cosmos bipinnatus
Tropicos: Cosmos bipinnatus
Wikipedia: Cosmos bipinnatus

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Cosmos bipinnatus., retrieved 24 May 2024

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