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Cockscomb (Celosia cristata), fam. Amaranthaceae.
An ornamental heat-loving plant. In our climate it is forcedly annual, and the seeds may be grown into seedlings in spring if you want Cockscombs to bloom earlier. Due to high warmth requirements, Cockscomb is much more common in southern regions of Ukraine than in Kyiv. At the beginning of summer, it sometimes may need watering; however, its is quite drought-resistant and keeps bright-green or purple (depending on the variety) color of its leaves. The velvet inflorescences are even more sturdy – they can be easily dried into winter bouquets.
Unlike many other indoor and garden flowers, Cockscomb is not toxic – instead, it is actually consumed as food in India, some African and South American countries. Young leaves may be added into soups and salads. Overall, it is analogous to closely related Amaranth – the difference is mostly in the construction of the inflorescences, which usually fuse together into the characteristic combs. Cockscomb is used in folk medicine as antiinflammatory remedy and to enhance immunity.