Color Phases of a Maturing Persian Carpet Flower – Zinnia haageana

After observing my Zinnia violacea Whirligigs and reading that the color traits that I admire in them probably came from Zinnia haageana genes introduced in its past, I decided that I needed to see these Z. haageana flowers first hand.  Persian Carpet mix seemed like a logical start as the pictures published showed a large variation in color patterns.  Little did I know that there would be variation in flower form as well.  I’ve created a Gallery of Persian Carpet Flowers that shows some of this variation.

As I study the Persian Carpet flowers, I notice that some of them change over time.  Most do get larger from the time I first recognize them as flowers insead of buds, many change form as they add whirls of ray florets (petals) and some dramatically change color.  The change in color seems to occur with the red pigments and is most noticeable at the tips of the ray florets.  Those flowers that demonstrate this often have no red pigment at the tips of the ray florets when they first open up and then as the flower matures the pigments reveals itself, first lightly, then in some cases developing into a dark color which depends upon the underlying carotinoid pigments.  This is an example which has a very dramatic change in color resulting in a unique pattern.

This is the flower as it initially opens.

This is the flower soon after it initially opens.

Base color is darkening from a dusting of red pigment.

Base color is darkening from a dusting of red pigment.

Darker coloration now beginning to show up on the petal tips.

Darker coloration now beginning to show up on the petal tips.

The petal tips are now darker than the base color.

The petal tips are now darker than the base color.

About one week later and the tips are definitely darker than the base.  the base color may have faded some.

About one week later and the tips are definitely darker than the base. The base color has begun to fade.

Many of these pictures are of the same flower.  The other pictures are flowers from the same plant, but at different stages of development.

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