Soko (Celosia argentea)
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Celosia is a small genus of edible and ornamental plants, similar in appearance and uses to the amaranths. They are sometimes called cockscombs or woolflowers for their brightly colored, woolly flower heads which resemble cockscombs. The name “cockscomb” may be restricted to those whose flower heads are crested by fasciation.
Celosia argentea var. argentea or Lagos spinach (a.k.a. quail grass, Soko, Celosia, feather cockscomb) is a broadleaf annual leaf vegetable belonging to the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae). It grows widespread across northern South America, tropical Africa, the West Indies, South, East and Southeast Asia where it is grows as a native or naturalized wildflower, and is cultivated as a nutritious leafy green vegetable. It is traditional fare in countries of Central and West Africa, and is one of the leading leafy green vegetables in Nigeria, where it is known as ‘soko yokoto’, meaning ‘make husbands fat and happy.’
As a grain, Cockscomb is a pseudocereal, not a true cereal.
Seed production in these species can be very high, 200-700 kg per hectare. One ounce of seed may contain up to 43,000 seeds. One thousand seeds can weigh 1.0-1.5 grams. Depending upon the location and fertility of the soil, blossoms can last 8-10 weeks.
Celosia cristata is a common garden ornamental plant in China and other places.