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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.

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

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Monday - June 10, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Red selection of Coreopsis Tinctoria from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Red tall plains coreopsis is being sold @ Eden Bros. THey note it is a native, can grow to zone 10, but they say it is "not heat or drought toleranr". Cannot find verification or rebuttal anywhere. i come to Mr S P for wisdom. this is a TALL (allegedly 40-60") annual. Need to know before I buy a pound for my E Austin property. thanks from a Center Member!

ANSWER:

We just answered a question about a red bluebonnet (an oxymoron if we ever heard one. So, let us give you a couple lines from that question:

"The color showed up in the wild and growers have continued to breed for the color. If the flowers accidentally cross breed with the original blue flowers, the red ones may revert to the blue."

In your case, of course, it would be the all red Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis) reverting to the yellow flower with the red center. This is called a selection, and can be the results of years of interbreeding flowers that are all red. That would still be counted as a native flower, but whether you would still have all red flowers next year cannot be guaranteed.

Here is the Eden Bros. ad that you mentioned. From our Image Gallery (below) we found one that was red all over and two that had expanding red areas from the center.

 

From the Image Gallery


Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

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