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Family Asteraceae
Zinnia
Zinnia elegans Jacq
YOUTH-AND-OLD-AGE

Scientific names Common names
Zinnia elegans Jacq. Common zinnia
Zinnia violacea Zinnia
Crassina elegans Youth-and-old-age


Gen info
Zinnia is a common Mexican wildflower. The early Spanish colonists in Mexico found the flowers ugly and called them mal de ojos (evil eyes). The genus was named after German botanist who first named it, Johann Gottfried Zinn of Gottingen. Of the 200 or more species (source) in the zinnia genus, Zinnia elegans is the most well known.

Botany
Low, erect annual herb, growing to a height of 1 to 3 feet. Leaves are opposite, ovate or nearly elliptic, with the base clasping the stem. Flower head is terminal, single- or double-flowerd. The flowering stalk is 2-5 cm long. Ray flowers are reflexed, of various colors, disk flowers usually yellow or orange.

Distribution
Native to Mexico.
Widely distributed in the Philippines.
Thrives best in deep loamy soil.
Propagated by seeds.

Uses
Folkloric
No known folkloric use in the Philippines.

Studies
Antifungal. Phytochemical and antifungal screening of the whole plant of Z elegans yielded 7.6% saponins and showed pronounced antifungal activity against Fusarium moniliforme.
Allergenicity / Allergic Rhinitis. Zinnia elegans pollen from heavily polluted areas in central Tehran has been shown to release compounds that are significantly more potent in eliciting skin wheal reactions and increasing total blood IgE (immunoglobulin E) and eosinophilia in sensitized animals, than pollen compounds from non-polluted areas.

Availability
Wild-crafted. 
Flower essence concoctions and seeds in the cybermart.


Last Update September 2010

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Phytochemical and Antifungal Screening of Medicago sativa and Zinnia elegans / OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences 2(2):130-132,2002
(2)
Today’s allergic rhinitis patients are different: new factors that may play a role
/ R Mosges, L Klimek / Allergy, Volume 62, Issue 9, pages 969–975, September 2007 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2007.01440.x


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