En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Mixed wildflower seeds in pots in Houston
March 02, 2010 - Hello - I live in Houston, TX and was recently given a few seed packets of mixed wildflowers. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment and I'm limited to a large balcony with a container garden. The ba...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for Northern Indiana
May 08, 2007 - I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday April 21. What a beautiful place. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I was wondering how I could find out w...
view the full question and answer

Planting for slope in Boone, NC
April 13, 2010 - What would you suggest for planting on a slope, located in Boone, NC? Approximately 600 to 800 sq. ft.
view the full question and answer

Large-scale wildflower maintenance
June 14, 2008 - We purchased the Texas/Oklahoma wildseed mix from your shop last year and planted them this past fall. The wildflowers came up beautifully, but at the beginning of June, after flowering just one time...
view the full question and answer

Is it illegal to pick the state flower (Mountain laurel) in Connecticut?
March 25, 2009 - Is it illegal to pick the state flower (mountain laurel) in CT?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center