Coreopsis grandiflora

This species can be distinguished from other Coreopsis spp. by the ragged appearance of the flower petals, and the linear pinnate leaves that occur along the stems, usually in opposite pairs.

Common name: Coreopsis
Scientific name: Coreopsis grandiflora
Description: Medium herbaceous wildflower
Life Cycle: Perennial
Growth Rate: Fast
Flowering: Fall, winter
Flower Color: yellow
Flower Characteristics: showy
Height in flower: 2 - 3 feet
Fruit: Inconspicuous achene
Habitat: Grows in moist pinelands, prairies, and edges of cypress swamps; moist ditches and swales
Soils:Wet to moist, seasonally inundated sandy soils, without humus
Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils
Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water
Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves
Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought
Light Requirements: Full sun
Range: Endemic (worldwide distribution is limited to Florida) to Florida from Nassau County and Panhandle south to Miami-Dade, Highlands and Lee counties. Presumed extirpated in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. In Broward County, last collected in the Parkland area in 1982.
General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations
Availability: Grown by enthusiasts
Wildlife and Ecology: Nectar plant for butterflies

Florida has many well-known state symbols, but one of the more recent additions is the State Wildflower, tickseed, known by botanists as Coreopsis. The Coreopsis species are commonly referred to as tickseeds because the flat small fruit (achene) is ovalish to round and has two short spines that give it a buglike appearance. Tickseed flowers generally have eight showy ray flowers (“petals” ) that are usually toothed at their ends. All tickseeds in Florida, except Swamp Tickseed, have yellow ray flowers. There are 13 tickseed species that occur in Florida, two of which do not occur in any other part of the world.

Some Coreopsis are annuals, and others are perennials. They all form short clumps of leaves that grow close to the ground, and at the right time of year, the shoot up a flower stalk with many attractive blooms. The flowers can be cut and brought indoors. And outside, they are attractive to butterflies. After they fade, the seed are enjoyed by birds. As with most flowering plants, plenty of sunshine is needed to produce many colorful blooms.

Plants and seed are becoming more available. A growers cooperative has been formed to encourage the marketing of these native plant materials. A group wildflower seed producers have formed a cooperative,the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association, Inc.

According to their website, they are cooperating with the marketing of wildflower seed and plants to supply the demand from the Florida Department of Transportation and other public entities that wish to beautify our state’s roadsides.

Research on seed production methods has been fueled by UF Extension Specialist Dr. Norcini and is also a product of the Florida wildflower license plate funds. The sales of Florida Wildflower auto tags has generated more than a half million dollars for this work. The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs is also encouraging the sale of these increasingly popular specialty license plates and is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to get more seed into the hands of our road management crews.

Photo shown is a coreopsis hybrid: 'Crème Brulee'. Hybrid of verticillata and grandiflora; foliage and form are similar to 'Moonbeam' but habit is improved;

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'Creme Brulee'

'Crème Brulee' Coreopsis Hybrid

Photo by Rebecca Jordi
Horticulture Agent IV
County Extension Director
Contributing Editor