Around 4-6 months ago I planted the seeds of a Cock's Comb (Celosia). I found the seeds from a very pretty bush of red Cock's Comb that looked exactly liked the first picture below around my park so I decided to take the seeds home and plant it.

Skip to today, A lot of the seeds have sprouted and started flowering but there's a slight issue! All the flowers look like the second picture instead of how I expected it to look like. The colors have changed and the shape of the Celosia and it does not resemble the plant where I got the seeds from.

Is this normal? or does it have to do with something about how seeds work? Any sort of help would be appreciated! :D

What I expected

celosia with red flower

What is growing

purple celosia

  • Did you plant celosia in that area in previous years? Specifically, 2020 or 2021?
    – Jurp
    Jan 2, 2023 at 16:08
  • @Jurp I planted it in 2021! :)
    – NikXIII
    Jan 3, 2023 at 7:20

1 Answer 1


Celosia as a genus contains two horticulturally common species used in the garden and which have two different flower forms:

  • Plumed celosia, (Celosia argentea var. plumosa formerly named Celosia plumosa)
  • Crested or Coxcomb celosia (Celosia argentea var. cristata, formerly named Celosia cristata)
  • Wheat celosia (Celosia spicata)

The celosia in the horticultural trade are bred from any of these species, and their seedlings come true to type. So, your assumption that if you planted coxcomb celosia seeds then you would get coxcomb celosia flowers is correct, because the coxcomb form, called "fasciation", is genetically controlled (see here for a short discussion on fasciation that specifically mentions celosa). This is why the two species have now been grouped under the Celosia argentea botanical name: one variety produces plumes, the other produces coxcombs. I have found no evidence that interbreeding of the varieties will induce the coxcomb variety to set seeds that only produce the plumed variety's flowers. I'm happy to edit or delete this answer if anyone (including me, 'cause I'll keep looking) can find evidence otherwise.

In other words, the seedlings you have are not from the saved seeds you planted, unless you accidentally saved seeds from a C. argentea v. plumosa plant. The fact that you didn't get what you expected indicates that the seeds were either NOT from C. argentea v. cristata or that you had planted C. spicata or C. plumosa in that garden the previous year and those plants set seed, which then sprouted this year.

There is one possible but, I think, rather unlikely possibility: the coxcomb flower from which you saved seeds was a C. argentea v. plumosa plant that had spontaneously produced fasciated flowers. As noted in the site I linked to above:

Those changes [fasciation] can occur because of spontaneous genetic mutations, disease infections, physical damage caused by insects or other environmental stresses.

If this were the case (especially if not a spontaneous mutation), then the fasciated plumosa plant would've produced plumosa seeds (same if the fasciation was on a C. spicata plant). One indication of this being the case for your seedlings is if the coxcomb flower you collected seeds from was the only coxcomb plant in a bed of plumed or wheat celosia.

  • I went back to the park today and I think you're right!
    – NikXIII
    Jan 3, 2023 at 8:08
  • Do you mean that you saved seed from a crested celosia in a bed of plumed celosia?
    – Jurp
    Jan 5, 2023 at 12:13

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