Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Shiro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Wildflowers
Title: Need help with a Coreopsis eating beetle in Shiro, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Mr.Smarty Plants,(Sorry, I kept messing up with my emails) Anyway, here goes: I usually have a beautiful meadow full of lanceleaf coreopsis blooming by now. Not this year. I found to my horror every single plant has been attacked before they could seed and devoured top to bottom by tiny dark iridescent beetles (about a quarter inch long) and thousands of their black nymphs marching like an army across the ground. Not only was every plant in the meadow reduced to sooty encrusted brown stalks, but any remaining single plants are being assaulted around my yard as well. It looks like I will lose them all. Do you have any idea as to the identity of these pests? I have been here many years and this is the first time this has happened. Thanks, Frustrated in Shiro.

ANSWER:

The Lanceleaf Coreopsis Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)  is a spectacular meadow flower and Mr. Smarty Plants can understand your frustration upon seeing them turned into a salad bar by a bunch of crunching beetles. In searching for insect pests of  Coreopsis, I found mention of three beetle species that like to eat this plant.

Phaedon desotonis

Calligrapha californica

Acalymma vitta

From the description you gave, Phaedon desotonis could be your culprit.

Another possibility is one of a group of species known collectively as Flea Beetles.

For help identifying your beetle and tips for eradicating it, I suggest that you contact the folks at the Grimes County office of Texas AgriLife Extension.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

More Wildflowers Questions

Bluebonnets in Hampton VA?
July 12, 2014 - I gave my mom Blue Bonnet seeds for her yard in Hampton VA. She is on a mission to have no lawn and loves flowers. The seeds say to plant in Texas August-November. But, when should she plant them i...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers blooming in Austin in October
June 10, 2008 - Does the Austin area have any flowers that grow/bloom in October? I'm getting married in Austin in October and want the entire event to be as earth-friendly as possible..hence native flowers.
view the full question and answer

Asters bloom period
April 16, 2005 - When do the asters bloom?
view the full question and answer

Trimming back wildflower beds in Cody Wyoming
February 20, 2011 - I live in Cody Wyoming and I have some wildflower beds in front of my house that didn't get trimmed back this summer...they look like swamp plants now, super nasty. Should I trim them now?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers being mowed in Canyon TX
June 03, 2012 - Can I receive a letter from someone there to put up in our neighborhood? I live in an area very close to Palo Duro Canyon. A developer out here mows down the wildflowers along the one lane road. It ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.