lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Coreopsis crassifolia Aiton
Coreopsis heterogyna Fernald
Coreopsis lanceolata L. var. villosa Michx.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for lanceleaf tick-
seed is Coreopsis lanceolata L. There is considerable variation in botanical
characteristics associated with Coreopsis lanceolata. Plants that have been
called Coreopsis lanceolata var. villosa Michaux may merit recognition as
a distinct taxon or may be hybrids (or derivatives) from crosses between
Coreopsis lanceolata and Coreopsis pubescens. The United States Depart-
ment of Agriculture's PLANTS Database treats variety villosa as a synonym
for the typical Coreopsis lanceolata. When used as an ornamental, lance-
leaf tickseed has been known to spread back into natural settings; this in-
cludes commercial cultivars.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The following des-
cription is from John Hilty's Illinois Wildflower website (
fowers.info). His description is for Coreopsis lanceolata variety villosa
(see above Taxonomy discussion).
Habit: This native perennial plant is 1½–3' tall and largely unbranched.
The central stem is long, round, and slender; it is hairless near the apex,
but sometimes has scattered white hairs near the base.
Leaves: The foliage consists primarily of alternate leaves crowded together
near the base of the plant. These leaves are up to 10" long and 2" across.
They are lanceolate or oblanceolate, and have smooth margins; sometimes
there are 1 or 2 small lateral lobes near the base. Sometimes there are scat-
tered white hairs along the leaf surface, particularly along the mid-rib on
the lower side.
Flowers: The upper stem is largely devoid of leaves, and terminates in a
single compound flower. This compound flower is 2-3½" across and quite
showy. It consists of numerous yellow or yellowish brown disk florets, and
6-10 surrounding yellow ray florets. The outer edge of each ray floret has a
fringed appearance consisting of 4 acute lobes. Each flower is subtended
by several triangular green bracts; the inner bracts are somewhat smaller
and often brownish green. There is no noticeable scent to the flowers.
Fruit/Seeds: The dark achenes are rather flat and oblong, and have 2 small
barbs near the top.
Roots: The root system is fibrous. This plant often forms colonies by re-
REGENERATION PROCESS: Lanceleaf tickweed propogates itself by
HABITAT TYPES: Habitats include mesic to dry sand prairies, gravel
prairies, dry areas of black soil prairies, limestone glades, thinly wooded
bluffs, and areas along roadsides and railroads.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Lanceleaf tickseed prefers full sun, but will
tolerate light shade. On sites that are heavily shaded, plants produce fewer
flowers and the stems grow taller. It can grow on many soil types, but pre-
fers well-drained, mesic to dry conditions; it can contain sandy or rocky
material. Its preference for poor, infertile soils offers a ecological advant-
age with the reduction in competition from other plants.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs during early
summer and lasts about a month.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Lanceleaf tickseed is found throughout
all of the eastern United States and into the Mid-West and Prairie states.
It does not naturally occur in the far southwestern states and some of the
Rocky Mountain states and the far western regions of the Prairie states.
It has been recorded as occurring in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: The nectar of the flowers attracts many
kinds of insect visitors, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees,
wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, day-flying moths, and beetles. Some of
the bees collect pollen, while some of the beetles feed on pollen. The long-
tongued bee Melissodes coreopsis (coreopsis miner bee) is a specialist
visitor of Coreopsis spp. The caterpillars of the moths Tornos scolopa-
cinarius (dimorphic gray) and Eynchlora acida (wavy-lined emerald)
feed on the foliage. Mammalian herbivores occasionally consume this
and other Coreopsis species, including rabbits, groundhogs, livestock,
and possibly deer. The barbs of the achenes can cling to the fur of animals
and clothing of humans, and are distributed by them to some extent.
Lanceleaf tickeed is used as an ornamental, being planted in raised planters,
group or mass plantings, entranceways, beds, foundations, borders, and
Crooked Run Valley