Zinnia elegans is the ancestor of all modern zinnia cultivars. The edible flowers are native to hot, dry grasslands from Colorado to Guatemala. Aztec people called them “the plant that is hard on the eyes” because of their bright, jewel colored flowers. The name we use for them now comes from Johann Gottfried Zinn, a German botanist who brought them back to Europe in the 1700s. When the first zinnias were made available for purchase, Americans weren’t interested, but they grew popular in French gardens and soon double varieties were cultivated. Now, zinnia flowers come in a variety of petal shapes and every color except blue.
Bloom time: July-November