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Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Coreopsis tinctoria

Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.

Plains Coreopsis, Golden Tickseed, Goldenwave, Calliopsis

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: coti3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (W), CAN (N)

A slender, 1-2 ft., sometimes taller, annual with pinnately-compound foliage, tickseed is known for its small but abundant yellow flowers, "painted" maroon near the center. Numerous smooth, slightly angled branches bearing showy, daisy-like flower heads with yellow rays surrounding a reddish-purple central disc. The yellow petals are notch-tipped. Flower heads occur on long stalks from the multi-branching stems.

This prevailingly western annual has escaped from cultivation in the East. It is widespread in the West and the South in disturbed areas, such as moist ditches. Because of its showiness, the flower is cultivated extensively, hence its common name.


From the Image Gallery

44 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall, often much shorter.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Flowers year-round, mostly June August.


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NJ , NM , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , ON , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Plains of c. U.S.; naturalized elsewhere.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas, Roadsides, pond banks

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Prefers moist, sandy soil.
Conditions Comments: Coreopsis tinctoria produces showy masses of red-highlighted yellow flowers. It does well in wildflower meadows and predominates in wet years. Though considered an annual, it may bloom two to three years before dying.


Use Ornamental: This species is widely cultivated as an ornamental and is escaping. It is sometimes known in the horticultural trade as "calliopsis."
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees Nectar-Butterflies, Nectar-insects, Seeds-Granivorous birds
Use Food: Flowers boiled in water makes a red liquid used as a beverage.
Use Medicinal: Amerindians used root tea for diarrhea and as an emetic. Dried tops in a tea to strengthen blood. Boiled plant to make a drink for internal pains and bleeding.
Use Other: Was used for a source of yellow and red dyes.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High


Propagation Material: Clump Division , Seeds
Description: Seeds may be sown outside in late fall or the following spring without any cold treatment. Seedlings grow rapidly. This plant can be increased by separating outer rosettes from the clump in the fall.
Seed Collection: Nutlets are mature and ready for collection about four weeks after the flowers wither. Watch the inner series of bracts; when they begin to darken, it is time to collect. Remove chaff and store in sealed, refrigerated containers. Storage life is at least three years.
Seed Treatment: Seeds of this genus generally germinate without pretreatment. Several studies have indicated that light increases germination. From this observation, we suggest not covering the soil.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: Since C. tinctoria is an annual, be sure to allow the seed to mature completely before mowing or collecting seed to plant in a new area. Again, it is essential it is allowed to reseed for an abundant display the following year.

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Attracting butterflies in Tennessee
July 03, 2009
What flowers and plants do the caterpillars in Tennessee eat? And do you know what butterflies live in Tipton Co. Tennessee?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for seasonal poor drainage
May 16, 2006
I have an area in my front yard that has a drainage ditch running through it. When it rains, that area stays very wet. What kind of plants available for sale will work in this situation?
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0061 Collected May 19, 1990 in Bexar County by Lottie Millsaps

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 766 - Dale Groom's Texas Gardening Guide (2002) Groom, D.
Bibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie : an ethnobotanical guide (1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 417 - Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America (2000) Foster, S. & J. A. Duke
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Research Literature

Reslit 355 - The flavonoid-rich fraction of Coreopsis tinctoria promotes glucose tolerance regain through pancreatic function recovery in streptozotocin-induced glucose-intolerant rats (2010) T. Dias, M. R. Bronze, P. J. Houghton, H. Mota-Fil...
Reslit 547 - Antagonistic interactions between competition and insect herbivory on plant growth (2004) J. J. Haag, M. D. Coupe and J. F. Cahill
Reslit 1306 - A biosystematic study of Coreopsis tinctoria and C. cardaminefolia (Compositae) (1971) E. B. Smith and H. M. Parker
Reslit 1540 - Antioxidant Activities of Fractions Obtained from Flowers of Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt (2010) J. H. Woo, H. S. Jeong, Y. D. Chang, S. L. Shin an...
Reslit 1933 - Comparative Capitular Morphology and Anatomy of Coreopsis L and Bidens L (Compositae), Including a Review of Generic Boundaries (1995) M. Tadesse, D. J. Crawford and E. B. Smith
Reslit 2562 - Phyletic trends in sections Eublepharis and Calliopsis of the genus Coreopsis (Compositae) (1983) E. B. Smith
Reslit 2564 - A cladistic study of North American Coreopsis (Asteraceae: Heliantheae) (1987) R. K. Jansen, E. B. Smith, D. J. Crawford
Reslit 2566 - Appearance of first generation larvae of the sunflower moth, Homoeosoma electellum (Hulst)(Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in the central United States (1985) V. H. Beregovoy
Reslit 2567 - Meiotic chromosome numbers in Texas species of the genus Coreopsis (Compositae-Heliantheae) (1960) L. Turner
Reslit 2569 - Leaf flavonoid chemistry of North American Coreopsis (Compositae): intra-and intersectional variation (1983) D. J. Crawford, E. B. Smith

This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1987 VOL. 4, NO.4 - Wildflower Center Sows Seeds for the Country, Hotline for Texas, New Goals Plans...
Wildflower Newsletter 1992 VOL. 9, NO.6 - Architectural Plans for new Facility Taking Shape, Native Plants Provide Local C...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Coreopsis tinctoria in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Coreopsis tinctoria in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Coreopsis tinctoria


Record Modified: 2022-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff, GDB

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