'Jim Baggett's Choice Mix' Zinnia
Improvement status: Breeding population
Seeds per packet: ~50
Germination tested 12/2021: 98%
Life cycle: Annual
We got these seeds from the excellent flower-seed farmers at Wild Garden Seeds, who have this to say about this zinnia mix: "These brilliantly hued and diversely formed zinnias come from the great Oregon State vegetable breeder Jim Baggett, who made zinnias and dahlias his backyard avocation. Huge heads on long stems in spectral extremes of orange, yellow, red, magenta, and pink, with long, sometimes rolled or quilled petals. Spectacular."
Zinnias were once called "Youth and Old Age", probably because they keep producing flowers all season, with some fading away and others rising in their place. Though this species is native to Mexico, the name "Zinnia" comes from German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759) and was first applied by Carl Linnaeus (the guy who developed the binomial Latin nomenclature we still use for all species today). Zinn had described the species we now call Zinnia peruviana as a form of Rudbeckia, but Linnaeus recognized it was something else, so coined the term Zinnia.
Our friends at Fedco Seeds (we suspect the great Nikos Kavanya) note that "Zinnia flower essence is used to bring out playfulness and lightheartedness." Other species of the Zinnia genus have been studied for their potential biological actions, such as antifungal, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, antibacterial, antiviral, antimalarial, cytotoxic (demonstrated on cancer cell lines), and insecticidal. There's evidencde that this species has antioxidant, antifungal, hepatoprotective, anthelmintic, phytoremediative, and antimalarial properties, but it has not been studied a great deal.
Little known fact: zinnia petals are perfectly edible! They're sometimes used as a garnish on cakes or other desserts, but we think their slightly bitter flavor makes them better suited for adding splashes of color (and phytonutrients) to fresh salads.