Gomphrena is a genus of more than 100 species of flowering plants in the family Amaranthaceae, distributed throughout the warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions of the world.
The genus includes low-growing annuals and perennials that bloom in shades of white, yellow, pink, orange, red and purple. Some of the species are used as medicinal plants and a few are cultivated as ornamentals. These plants are drought tolerant and easy to grow. They are suitable for beds, borders, pots and window boxes, and are great for fresh-cut and dried floral arrangements.
The genus name is derived from the Latin word “gromphaena”, a name apparently used for Amaranthus tricolor.
Gomphrena is a symbol of immortality and endless love.
The plant has the amazing ability to last for years when dried, hence the symbolism.
Interesting facts about Gomphrena:
Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)
Gomphrena globosa, commonly known as Globe amaranth, is an annual species native to Central America, but cultivated around the world. It grows up to 60 cm tall and produces small, globe-shaped flowers in shades of purple, red, pink yellow and white. The colorful “flowers” are actually papery bracts or modified leaves, while the real flowers are barely visible and grow within these beautiful bracts. The plant is not showy and has no fragrance, but is loved by butterflies and other small pollinators. Gardeners love its nice foliage and globe-like flowers, which are beautiful both fresh and dried.
The plant requires little care and will thrive in almost any type of soil as long as it drains well. It performs best in a pH range of about 5.5 to 6.5. The plant is heat tolerant and should not be overwatered.
Globe Amaranth is now cultivated worldwide as an ornamental, as well as having uses in traditional medicine.
It is a popular ornamental plant used for cut flowers, potted plants and for landscape use. It’s often dried for indoor decoration and used in potpourris and dried flower arrangements.
The plant may be useful for a variety of ailments. It has been used for the treatment of several respiratory conditions including cough, bronchial asthma, acute and chronic bronchitis. It has also been used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes and urinary retention. It can boost the immune system, reduce cholesterol and act as an anticancer agent.
Globe Amaranth is edible and is sometimes used as potherbs. It is very popular in tea form and is widely available in many stores.
There are many cultivars of this species and some of these have become popular in the horticultural trade. Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’ is the most favorite cultivar among gardeners, due to its beautiful appearance and very long-lasting performance. This cultivar has pink or purple petal-like structures known as bracts, and tiny yellow flowers at the tips. The plant keeps its color after cutting and drying, making it perfect for the cutting or craft garden. It is taller than the species and can reach a height of 120 cm (4 ft). It is tolerant of heat, drought and humidity, blooming throughout the growing season until the first frost.
The flowers come in various colors including white, yellow, pink, orange, red and purple.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
These beautiful plants can reach up to 90 cm (3 ft) in height, but most of the species are smaller than that.
The plant is not fussy about the soil type as long as it is well drained. It grows best in full sun and is tolerant of dry soil and humidity.