Tickseed Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolata

tickseed_coreopsis_flowerhead_3-21-14.jpg

Photo of tickseed coreopsis flowerhead
Catherine Herms, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
Family

Asteraceae (daisies, sunflowers)

Description

A prominent glade perennial usually with several stems. Flowerheads few, with large heads, about 2 inches across, the ray florets typically broad, uniformly yellow, the ends sharply, jaggedly toothed. Blooms April–June. Leaves narrow, undivided, mostly at lower half of the stems. Fruits seeds that somewhat resemble ticks; the name “coreopsis” is derived from Greek and means “resembling a bug.”

Similar species: There are 6 species of Coreopsis recorded for Missouri. We also have 11 species in the genus Bidens (beggar’s ticks), which can be confused with Coreopsis species.

Size

Height: to 2 feet.

Habitat and conservation

Grows natively in rocky prairies, glades, tops of bluffs, sandy open areas, and along roadsides and railroads. It is cultivated statewide and commonly escapes into natural habitats.

image of Tickseed Coreopsis distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Scattered mostly in the Ozarks and north to the Missouri River. Cultivated, and escapes from cultivation, statewide.

Human connections

Often planted along roads for beautification. Several species are cultivated as garden ornamentals and for cut flowers, and doubled cultivars with numerous ray florets have been developed. In gardens, coreopsis demands excellent drainage and full sun but seems to prefer poor soil.

Ecosystem connections

The achenes (as the seedlike fruits of members of the sunflower family are called) provide food for birds and small mammals.