My husband teases me that all of our native wildflowers are my favorites. It’s pretty close to the truth. Each one seems to have a special meaning to me. Coreopsis grandiflora has several key attributes that place it on my favorites list. For one, it’s a dependable producer of a multitude of sunny flowers. For another, blooming lasts for months during spring, summer and sometimes, fall. And, if you’ve been following my website, you know I am especially fond of plants that support our native pollinators. Many butterflies, skippers, bees, and other pollinators flock to Coreopsis grandiflora. I love seeing the butterflies dancing back and forth from one sunny flower to the next. For these reasons, seeing a patch of Coreopsis grandiflora in bloom, immediately transports me to my happy place and that earns her a place on my favorites list.
Latin Name/Common Name- The latin name ‘coreopsis’ comes from Koris (bug) and Opsis (view). Grandiflora basically means large flower. The common name, Large flowered tickseed refers to the tiny black seeds.
Description- Coreopsis grandiflora is in the aster family. It tends to grow in colonies due to the spreading rhizomatous roots. Individual plants reach to a height of about 2 feet. The stems tend to be floppy and can be seen intertwining with each other or nearby plants. The leaves are very slender, almost thread-like. Flowers consist of both disk and ray florets.
The lovely drawing by M. Sorensen above is part of the public domain and obtained from www.plantillustrations.org. Although the label Coreopsis Saxicola appears on the drawing, the flower is recognized as Coreopsis grandiflora on the site. The picture was contributed by Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis. Plant Illustrations is a wonderful site with many beautiful drawings of our native flora- highly recommended!
Bloom Time- One of the wonderful things about Coreopsis grandiflora is the extended bloom time. Depending on the weather -mostly rainfall, I’ve documented it in bloom on Ozarkedge from April through August. In fact, I recall seeing it blooming in September also during favorable weather, but I haven’t taken a photograph to document this yet. This makes Coreopsis grandiflora one of our longest blooming native wildflowers, behind some superstars like our native verbena, Glandularia canadensis and black-eyed susan, Rudbeckia hirta.
Habitat- This adaptable wildflower can be found in a wide range of habitats including praire, meadow, open woodlands or the rocky borders of streams. You can also find Coreopsis grandiflora blooming along roadsides where the land has been spared from agriculture or mowing. Coreopsis grandiflora blooms best when it has nearly full sun, but will adapt to partly sunny sites. Although it can tolerate dry periods, I’ve noticed it really excels in moist habitats.
What’s Growing Nearby? Many beautiful wildflowers can be found blooming alongside Coreopsis grandiflora. Here’s a sampling of some of the most beautiful.
Endangered List- Coreopsis grandiflora is almost completely unranked on Natureserve. Click this link to review the latest information. The USDA plants profile does not list its conservation status either.
Interesting Tidbits- I recommend our native Coreopsis grandiflora as a superior plant to include in any flower garden due to the large, bright yellow flowers, extensive bloom time and adaptability to many soil types and habitats. As an additional bonus, Coreopsis grandiflora is a magnet flower for butterflies, skippers, bees and many interesting insects. Hence, it’s an important plant for our native pollinators. Another benefit is that can be easily started from seeds which are available from many native wildflower nurseries.
When purchasing seeds, please note that some nurseries only sell cultivars of Coreopsis grandiflora, such as one called “Early Sunrise”. What’s a cultivar? Cultivars are produced by selective breeding over generations from the native plant. The cultivars are selected for special characteristics, such as the double flowers of “Early Sunrise”. While these do yield beautiful garden flowers, the complex and altered flowers of many cultivars may deprive pollinators the nectar they need or result in sterile flowers that don’t provide winter seeds that sustain our songbirds. The Coreopsis genus is important to pollinators, supporting a wide range of up to 42 different types of pollinators, according to George Coombs, Research Horticulturist at Mt. Cuba Center. Hence, whenever possible, it’s advisable to use the native plant rather than a cultivar. If maintaining biodiversity and preservation of our native pollinators is a priority for you, I recommend reading Praire Moon Nurseries stand on Cultivars at this link.