Thumb of 2015-11-25/ZenMan/aeea17@ZenMan submitted this image in the Plant Macros (Closeups) category of the The 2015 All Things Plants Photo Contest.

ZenMan added a caption:Exotic zinnia detail.
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Dec 8, 2015 5:45 AM CST
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
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Great color
I voted for this photo and was curious what flower it was,
saw your caption never would have thought zinnia.
This life has many choices
Eternity, only two.
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Dec 8, 2015 2:34 PM CST
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Yes I too was surprised to read the caption! How pretty
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Dec 8, 2015 3:22 PM CST
Name: ZenMan
rural Kansas (Zone 5b)
Kansas 5b
Annuals Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United States of America Seed Starter Keeper of Poultry Hybridizer
Hummingbirder Dragonflies Garden Photography Butterflies Zinnias Garden Ideas: Level 2
Hi Cinda and Greg, Welcome!

I am glad you guys liked the photo. I have been breeding zinnias, strictly for fun as an amateur, for the last several years. As I have mentioned elsewhere, botanically any part of a plant that can produce a seed is defined to be a flower. Therefore, each zinnia petal is botanically a flower, even though regular zinnia petals don't look much like a flower.

So, one of my "for fun" goals is to make individual zinnia petals look more like flowers. A few years ago I found a zinnia mutation with tubes for petals, instead of the usual "flat" appendages. So I crossed it extensively with other zinnia that I had, and then used the technique of genetic recombination to get variations on that tubular theme.

Of course, there are disadvantages to having zinnia petals be tubes. For one thing, the colored surface in on the inside of the tube, which can give the zinnia bloom a rather "dumb" look, like this early form. (As usual at ATP, you can see a larger version by clicking on the picture.)
Thumb of 2015-12-08/ZenMan/9e2cf6
So I began working toward improving the tubular petals, to add a little flare and "interest" to the petal ends.
Thumb of 2015-12-08/ZenMan/e636ab
And then I worked to give the tubes some curve, and improve the flare-out at the tube ends.
Thumb of 2015-12-08/ZenMan/3cdc7b
Those were early steps. I am continuing on my quest to transform zinnia petals into petal flowers instead of flower petals.

ZM
I tip my hat to you.
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Dec 8, 2015 3:57 PM CST
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
Sempervivums Sedums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
Garden Art Birds Dog Lover Cat Lover Region: Pacific Northwest Hummingbirder
Wow thanks how very cool!! Love the pictures of the process
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Dec 8, 2015 4:21 PM CST
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Sempervivums Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Garden Ideas: Master Level
Very interesting endeavor and results! Thanks for sharing that with us ZenMan! Smiling
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Dec 8, 2015 4:24 PM CST

Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Forum moderator
Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
I'm impressed!! Thanks for running is through that. Thumbs up
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Dec 8, 2015 4:43 PM CST
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
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I have been watching your transformation/process over in the annuals forum.
Very interesting
Maybe some day we will be buying your seeds for our gardens.
This life has many choices
Eternity, only two.
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Dec 8, 2015 5:07 PM CST
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Compliments, ZenMan - on your photography and your skills as a breeder. You know what you're doing and the results are lovely!
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Dec 8, 2015 5:23 PM CST
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Utah Bee Lover Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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Wild ZenMan! petal flowers!
looking forward to seeing more nodding
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