any of several composite plants of the genus Zinnia, native to Mexico and adjacent areas, especially the widely cultivated species Z. elegans, having variously colored, many-rayed flower heads.

1760–70; < Neo-Latin, named after J. G. Zinn (1727–59), German botanist; see -ia

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World English Dictionary
zinnia (ˈzɪnɪə)
any annual or perennial plant of the genus Zinnia, of tropical and subtropical America, having solitary heads of brightly coloured flowers: family Asteraceae (composites)
[C18: named after J. G. Zinn (died 1759), German botanist]

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Word Origin & History

genus of herbs of the aster family, 1767, from Mod.L. (Linnæus, 1763), named for Ger. botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1729-59)
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Off to one side, a couple of loops of chicken wire enclose more dust and garbage and a few plants-a zinnia, a lanky avocado.
It means cleaning up the winter detritus and planning ahead and wondering if it is the right time to plant the zinnia seeds.
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