Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.


Coreopsis tinctoria plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, from fibrous roots, carinate, glabrous, herbaceous, typically single from base, branching above.

Coreopsis tinctoria stem

Leaves - Opposite. Lowest leaves petiolate, bipinnately divided. Ultimate divisions linear-oblanceolate to linear-oblong, entire, typically glabrous. Petioles and petiolules with some pubescence. Petioles to 8cm long. Upper leaves larger than lower. Ultimate divisions linear, glabrous with antrorse strigillose margins.

Coreopsis tinctoria leafLower leaf.

Coreopsis tinctoria leafUpper leaf.

Inflorescence - Single flower head terminating stem branches. Peduncles to +6cm long.

Involucre - In two series. Outer series of phyllaries to 3mm long, 1.5mm broad. Phyllaries green, lanceolate, glabrous. Inner series of phyllaries to 8mm long, +/-3mm broad. Phyllaries dark brown-purple, glabrous, united at base for 1-2mm, abruptly bent and spreading near apex, acute.

Coreopsis tinctoria involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - Flowers typically 8 per head. Ligule to 1.5cm long, 1cm broad, slightly tapering to base, shallowly lobed at apex with one larger central lobe and two smaller lateral lobes, yellow or yellow with a dark purple base. Achene flattened, 1.4mm long in flower, truncate at apex, white, broader than disk achenes. Pappus absent or a minute crown.

Disk flowers - Disk to 8mm broad, subglobose. Corolla tube to 3mm long, yellow-orange, deep purple at apex, 4-lobed, fertile. Style bifurcate, orange at apex, exserted. Achene 1.8mm long in flower, flattened, glabrous. Pappus absent or a minute crown.

Coreopsis tinctoria flowers

Coreopsis tinctoria flowers

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Glades, open rocky and sandy ground, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - The plant pictured above is C. tinctoria f. atropurpurea (Hook.) Fern., which has the ray ligules with a deep purplish base. The ligules can also be almost completely purple (as seen above). C. tinctoria f. tinctoria has ligules which are solid yellow.
This species is widely cultivated and easy to grow. It has spread to most of the eastern U.S., not part of its original range. The plant is widely planted and very common in Missouri.

Photographs taken in Springfield, MO., 7-5-03, and somewhere in Alabama, 6-20-04.