Thomas Jefferson noted the planting of seeds of "Cockscomb, a flower like the Prince's feather" in 1767. This is likely the crested from of Celosia with its strange scarlet combs that are furrowed and lobed. In 1811, Jefferson wrote McMahon: "I have an extensive flower border, in which I am fond of placing handsome plants or fragrant. Those of mere curiosity I do not aim at." Still, the shockingly curious flowers of the Cockscomb must have delighted visitors to Monticello in Jefferson's time, just as they continue to do today.
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Cockscomb.
- Adams, Denise Wiles. Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004
- Betts, Edwin M.,Hazlehurst Bolton Perkins, and Peter J. Hatch. Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1986
- MacMahon, Bernard. The American Gardener's Calendar, 1806. Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1997
- Seeds available for purchase at Monticello Museum Shop
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants