Plains coreopsis, garden tickseed,[2] golden tickseed,[3] or calliopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria, is an annual forb. The plant is common in Canada (from Quebec to British Columbia), northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas), and much of the United States, especially the Great Plains and Southern states where it is often called "calliopsis".[4][5] The species is also widely cultivated and naturalized in China.[6]

Plains coreopsis

Secure  (NatureServe)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Coreopsis
C. tinctoria
Binomial name
Coreopsis tinctoria
  • Bidens tinctoria (Nutt.) Baill.
  • Calliopsis atkinsoniana (Douglas ex Lindl.) Hook.
  • Calliopsis bicolor Rchb.
  • Calliopsis cardaminefolia DC.
  • Calliopsis tinctoria (Nutt.) DC.
  • Coreopsis atkinsoniana Douglas ex Lindl.
  • Coreopsis bicolor (Rchb.) Bosse ex Buchenau
  • Coreopsis cardaminefolia (DC.) Torr. & A.Gray
  • Coreopsis gracilis Blanco
  • Coreopsis similis F.E.Boynton
  • Coreopsis stenophylla F.E.Boynton
  • Diplosastera tinctoria (Nutt.) Tausch

It often grows in disturbed areas such as roadsides and cultivated fields.[7]

Description edit

Plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) and Texas bullnettle (Cnidoscolus texanus) blooming at Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado Co., Texas, USA

Growing quickly, Coreopsis tinctoria attains heights of 30–100 cm (12–40 in). Its leaves are pinnately-divided, glabrous and tend to thin at the top of the plant where numerous 25–40 mm (1–1+12 in) flower heads sit atop slender stems.[8]

Flower heads are brilliant yellow with maroon or brown disc florets of various sizes. Flowering typically occurs in mid-summer. The small, slender seeds germinate in fall (overwintering as a low rosette) or early spring.[8] Ray florets have notched tips. Its native habitats include prairie, plains, meadows, pastures, savannas, roadsides, and pond banks.[9] The Latin specific epithet tinctoria refers to its use in dyeing.[10]

Ecology edit

Coreopsis tinctoria is pollinated by a wide variety of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies and beetles. Coreopsis tinctoria serves as a larval host plant for various insects, such as Synchlora aerata, Tornos scolopacinarius and Calligrapha californica.[11]

Uses edit

The Zuni people traditionally use the blossoms of the tinctoria variety to make a mahogany red dye for yarn,[12] and, until the introduction of coffee by traders, to make a hot beverage.[13] Women also used an infusion of the whole plant of this variety, except for the root, if they desired a female child.[14]

Cultivation edit

Coreopsis tinctoria cultivar Uptick Cream and Red.

Plains coreopsis is cultivated as an ornamental plant for gardens, and as a native plant for wildlife gardens and natural landscaping. It grows well in many types of soil, but seems to prefer sandy or well-drained loam soils.[15] Although somewhat drought-tolerant, naturally growing plants are usually found in areas with regular rainfall. Preferring full sun, it will also grow in partial shade.[16] Though plains coreopsis is often described as an annual some plants will behave more like biannuals growing larger and blooming more in their second year.[15]


Because of its easy growing habits and the bright, showy flowers of cultivars such as 'Roulette' (tiger stripes of gold on a deep mahogany ground), plains coreopsis is increasingly used for landscape beautification and in flower gardens.[16]

References edit

  1. ^ The Plant List, Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ USDA, NRCS (n.d.). "Coreopsis tinctoria". The PLANTS Database ( Greensboro, North Carolina: National Plant Data Team. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  4. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  5. ^ A biosystematic study of Coreopsis tinctoria and C. cardaminefolia (Compositae). Edwin B. Smith and Hampton M. Parker, Brittonia, Volume 23, Number 2, pages 161-170, doi:10.2307/2805432
  6. ^ Flora of China, 两色金鸡菊 liang se jin ji ju Coreopsis tinctoria Nuttall
  7. ^ Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2
  8. ^ a b Flora of North America, Coreopsis tinctoria Nuttall, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 2: 114. 1821.
  9. ^ "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  10. ^ "Coreopsis tinctoria - Plant Finder". Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  11. ^ "Plains Coreopsis". Retrieved 16 December 2023.
  12. ^ Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 1915 Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #30 (p.80)
  13. ^ Stevenson, p.66
  14. ^ Stevenson, p.84
  15. ^ a b Barr, Claude A. (1983). Jewels of the plains : wild flowers of the Great Plains grasslands and hills. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. 62. ISBN 0-8166-1127-0.
  16. ^ a b Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.

External links edit