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U.S. Forest Service

Plant of the Week

Map of the United States showing states. States are colored green where the golden tickseed may be found. Range map of the golden tickseed. States are colored green where the golden tickseed may be found.

Golden  Tickseed, Coreopsis tinctoria. Golden Tickseed (Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.).

Golden Tickseed (Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.)

By Wayne Owen

A hardy, upright annual, native to the southern United States, golden tickseed has spread throughout much of North America. Leaves are finely divided occurring mostly in the lower portion of the plant. A prodigious bloomer, having vibrant yellow flowers with maroon centers. Golden tickseed prefers full sun in various soil types. It is an ideal plant for areas that have poor drainage or remain soggy for an extended period.

With shiny green stems and ball-shaped brown buds, these airy plants are one of the major color makers in any meadow in any region. The clusters of bi-colored golden flowers with mahogany centers literally “light up” a meadow, and have a long blooming season. They are also great for cutting. This is a plains species, but is very widespread. It is called “calliopsis” in the South, where it is enjoyed right down into Florida. The coreopsis was recently designated the official State Wildflower of Florida.

One of North America's best-loved annuals, Plains Coreopsis is also one of the easiest to grow. Plant spring or fall, and you will soon see thin thread-like plants with shiny green stems and very small leaves. Once the seedlings are about 12-inches tall, perfectly round, brown-colored buds will appear, and soon you will have the beautiful sprays of small butter yellow flowers with dark red centers. This species is great for cutting, each stem adding a whole flush of small flowers to any arrangement, but do not cut them all. Plains coreopsis is perhaps the very best native annual for reseeding. This means that even though the plants may die with frost, others will probably sprout in their places next spring.

For More Information

PLANTS Profile - Coreopsis tinctoria, Golden Tickseed