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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae

311. Cosmos Cavanilles, Icon. 1: 9, plate 14. 1791.

[Greek kosmos, harmoniously ordered universe, or kosmo, ornament]

Robert W. Kiger

Annuals [perennials or subshrubs], 30–250 cm. Stems usually 1, erect or ascending, branched distally or ± throughout. Leaves mostly cauline; opposite; petiolate or sessile; blades usually 1–3-pinnately lobed [undivided], ultimate margins usually entire, faces usually glabrous, sometimes glabrate, hispid, puberulent, or scabridulous. Heads radiate, borne singly or in corymbiform arrays. Calyculi of [5–]8 basally connate, ± linear to subulate, herbaceous (striate) bractlets. Involucres hemispheric or subhemispheric [cylindric], 3–15 mm diam. Phylla­ries persistent, [5–]8 in ± 2 series, distinct, lanceolate, lance-oblong, lance-ovate, or oblong, ± equal, membranous or herbaceous, margins ± scarious. Receptacles flat, paleate; paleae falling, linear, flat or slightly concave-convex, scarious (entire). Ray florets [0, 5] 8 (more in "double" cultivars), neuter; corollas white to pink or purple, or yellow to red-orange. Disc florets 10–20[–80+], bisexual, fertile; corollas yellow [orange] (at least distally), tubes shorter than funnelform throats, lobes 5, ± deltate (staminal filaments hairy near anthers; style branches linear, flattened, thicker distally, hirtellous, appendages relatively slender). Cypselae (dark brown or black) relatively slender, quadrangular-cylindric or -fusiform [outer somewhat obcompressed], sometimes slightly arcuate, attenuate-beaked, not winged [winged], faces glabrous or hispid to scabridulous or ± setose, sometimes papillate, usually with 1 groove; pappi persistent [falling], of 2–4[–8] retrorsely [antrorsely] barbed awns, sometimes 0. x = 12.

Species ca. 26 (4 in the flora): tropical and subtropical America, especially Mexico, widely introduced elsewhere.


Pandey, A. K., S. Chopra, and R. P. Singh. 1986. Development and structure of seeds and fruits in Compositae: Cosmos species. J. Indian Bot. Soc. 65: 362–368. Sherff, E. E. 1955. Cosmos. In: N. L. Britton et al., eds. 1905+. North American Flora. 47+ vols. New York. Ser. 2, part. 2, pp. 130–146.

1 Ray laminae yellow to red-orange   4 Cosmos sulphureus
+ Ray laminae pink, purple, purplish, rose-pink, violet, or white   (2)
2 (1) Leaves: ultimate lobes 2–10 mm wide   2 Cosmos caudatus
+ Leaves: ultimate lobes to 1.5 mm wide   (3)
3 (2) Ray laminae 15–50 mm   1 Cosmos bipinnatus
+ Ray laminae 5–9 mm   3 Cosmos parviflorus

Lower Taxa


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