Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cosmos: A defense

Our neighbor Mary sent this information to me about cosmos:

Cosmos is regarded as an excellent nectar plant for butterflies (see Geyata Ajilvsgi's book Butterfly Gardening for the South, 1990; and Scott Shalaway's Butterflies in the Backyard, 2004.) The commonly cultivated species (Cosmos sulphureus) is widespread in the American tropics; it is thought to have originated in Mexico (see Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas, D.S. Correll and M.C. Johnston, 1970). According to C & J, it occasionally escapes but probably doesn't persist anywhere in Texas; however, a later compilation (see Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Texas by S. Hatch et al., 1990) indicates that it occurs out of cultivation ("in the wild") in southern Texas. We have a native Cosmos (C. parviflora) in the Trans-Pecos of Texas, with a range extending north to Colorado and far into Mexico. All members of this small genus are annuals.


Lancashire rose said...

Once you have this in the garden it is there forever. They make a beautiful show en masse. This year they blooming extra early and we had American goldfinch visiting every day for the seeds. I don't know how they eat those long spiny seeds; maybe they crack them open and remove the germ.

Lee said...

Oh, that would be great to start attracting goldfinches to the butterfly garden. I hear they love the weird ball of seeds on sycamore trees too.