Size: 1 to 2 feet (30-61 cm) or more; 3 feet (91-cm).
Growth Form:Forb/herb; usually a single upright stem; stems green however older stems becoming purplish or yellowish; stems rough, covered with fine, stiff, straight course hairs (strigose).
Leaves: Green; blades broadly triangular or broadly lanceolate, leaves without a supporting stem, bases clasping stem; leaf surface rough (scabrid); leaves opposite along stems.
Flower Color: Dark Red or maroon flowers with yellow centers; flower heads single on tips of stems; floral heads with both ray and diskflorets; bracts surrounding flower heads roughly oblong; fruit is a cypsela.
Flowering Season: June or July through October or November; especially abundant following heavy monsoon rainfall.
Elevation: 4,000 to 5,500 feet (1,219-1,676 m).
Habitat Preferences: Southern Arizona uplands, rocky slopes and hillsides, ravines, calcareous soils; open sunny areas.
Recorded Range: Rare in the United States where Peruvian Zinnia is native only to southeastern Arizona. Records of non-native specimens have been recorded in the far southeast United States. This species is also native to Puerto Rico and all of Mexico to South America. Peruvian Zinnia is introduced in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.
International Invasive/Noxious Weed Information:1The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International, (CABI), and 2The Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) has identified Zinnia peruviana as an “Invasive Species”. Zinnia peruviana was listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds (Randall, 2012) as a naturalized agricultural and environmental weed, casual alien and cultivation escape.
1The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England; The US Department of Agriculture is a lead partner with CABI.
2The Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) is an encyclopedic resource that brings together a wide range of different types of science-based information to support decision-making in invasive species management worldwide.
Genus Information: In North America there are 4native species and 1 accepted taxa overall for Zinnia; there are 3 introduced species. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 22 accepted species names and a further 13 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Zinnia.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, Texas and Utah each have 3 species of Zinnia, California and Nevada each have 0 species, New Mexico has 2 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.
Comments: Peruvian Zinnia is a tropical species native southeastern Arizona, the northern limits of its native range in the United States. With more than 100 cultivars, commercially sold Zinnias are among the most popular garden flowers that attract butterflies.
Peruvian Zinnia, Zinnia peruviana has attractive flowers, the flowers and their seeds may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
Peruvian Zinnia, Zinnia peruviana has attractive flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, Native Bees and other insects in search of food and nectar.
The genus “Zinnia” is from Johann Gottfried Zinn, (1727–1759), a German anatomist and botanist. Mr. Zinn was also a member of the Berlin Academy. It was a botanist, Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778) who named a genus of flowers in the family Asteraceae, native from Mexico, as “Zinnia” in his honor.