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

Wildflower seeding for hurricane-damaged areas of New Orleans
January 05, 2007 - I need some information. I am going to be traveling to New Orleans in two weeks to visit a relative. They are in an area that was decimated by the hurricane. Though they have rebuilt the neighborho...
view the full question and answer

Seeds of mayflower
May 03, 2005 - Although I now live in Virginia, I grew up in eastern South Dakota. Several years ago while visiting SD I was walking in the pasture and noticed that many of the wild mayflowers (pasqueflowers) had ...
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcover Suggestions for Under Florida Oak Trees
April 03, 2015 - I am looking for native plants that will do well under several oak trees in Northeast Florida. My yard doesn't get much sun and I'm told I have acidic soil. Are the any plants that would do well wit...
view the full question and answer

Viability of bluebonnets in Portland, Oregon
April 07, 2008 - My best friend lives in Portland, Oregon, and misses Texas wildflowers terribly. I would really love to send her some bluebonnet seeds (or even other native wildflowers) but I'm wondering if there a...
view the full question and answer

Life cycle of Big Bend bluebonnet from Rosanky TX
April 29, 2010 - I have searched and searched and need to find the life cycle of a Big Bend Bluebonnet for a school project, but have been unable to find it. If there is a website that would have this information, ple...
view the full question and answer

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