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Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria)

Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) - Also known as Golden Tickweed or Calliopsis

Order: Asterales Family: Asteraceae

Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) being visited by one of many pollinators the plant has during flowering. Photo by Timothy Eberl, 2012.

(Kansas: Kingman County. Gerber Reserve 37° 40’ 51.12” N, 97° 56’ 59.97” W. Large patches spread near the roadside. June 21st, 2012.)


Photos taken by Timothy Eberl, 2012.


Adult Plant Height: Plants typically gain a height of between 1-3 feet when fully mature.

Leaves: The leaves on the Plains Coreopsis are linear to linearly lanceolate, thin and at the top of the leaf seem very needle like. They are smooth to the touch, opposite in arrangement and fairly short (2-5 inches in length). Leaves of the Plains Coreopsis are divided pinnately and appear to be glabrous during examination.

 Coreopsis leaf during examination. Photo by Timothy Eberl, 2012.

Stem: Stems are multi branched, at the upper portion of the plant. The stem as a whole are glabrous and erect.

 Plains Coreopsis stem. Photo by Timothy Eberl, 2012.

Inflorescence: Inflorescences of the Plains Coreopsis are found at the terminal end of the upper branches in clusters. Flower heads possess involucre bracts in 2 series, a long reddish outer bract and a short green inner bract. Size of the flower heads range from 1” to 3” when fully grown.

 Plains Coreopsis inflorescence showing the layered bracts.

Flowers: Plains Coreopsis is a composite flower and possesses both disk and ray florets. Ray florets can reach lengths from ½” to 1” and from 6 to 12 in number. Ray florets have very distinctive reddish, brown spots where the floret attaches at the central disk of the flower head. Disc florets are extremely numerous and around 1/8” long.   

Fruit: Usually a small, flattened, single winged achene black in color.

Flowering period: Mid -summer to mid-autumn, typically July-October, though it does vary based on climate.

Habitat: Native to the Plains of the United States and Canada. It grows in sandy (though it will do well in a variety of soil types), wet, disturbed areas and is often seen from the roadside all over the Midwest. 

Uses: Plains Coreopsis was once used in medicinal teas but is now most widely known as an ornamental.

Conservation Status: Not threatened. This plant is EXTREMELY abundant.

Notes: Plains Coreopsis is a favorite of beginning gardeners because of the ease at which it grows. Seeds are available in almost every area of the country and very inexpensive. Many different cultivars are available based on aesthetic desires. Plains Coreopsis is currently the state flower of Florida.

Distribution: Nearly everywhere in the U.S. (Not found in Utah, Nevada or  New Hampshire)



Oklahoma State University:

Illinois Wildflowers:


Elpel, Thomas J. 2004. Botany In a Day: The Pattern Method of Plant Identification. HOPS Press, Pony, Montana. 164.

Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L., Little, C.R. 2007. Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico .Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, Texas.

Images: All photos taken by Timothy Eberl, June 2012.


Coreopsis species as an ornamental

How to Grow Coreopsis

Submitted by Timothy Eberl, 2012.

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