Coreopsis tripteris

prairie tickseed    Perennial of the Month-- October 2005 

(core-E-op' siss  trip' tear-iss) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Tall, Prairie Tickseed

Family: Aster (Composite), Asteraceae (Compositae)

Height x width: 6-8ft x 6 ft (shorter in dry soils)

Growth rate; habit: moderate, upright (more open in dry soils)

Foliage: tripartite (divided into 3 narrow, lance-shaped segments) to 6 inches long and wide, anise-scented; upper leaves untoothed and undivided

Flowers: (close-up) yellow, daisy-like to 2 inches wide, eight ray flowers ("petals") untoothed at tips, brown flat flower centers; mid-summer south, late-summer/early fall north

Hardiness: USDA hardiness zones 3-8

Soil: dry to moist, well-drained (tolerates some drought)

Light: full sun

Pests and problems: none serious; crown rot if soils too wet

Landscape habit, uses: good for poor, dry soils; backs of borders or centers of large island beds, woodland edges, butterfly gardens, cut flowers, fall seeds for birds; wildflower meadows or prairies; combines well with coneflowers, ornamental grasses, bee balm.

Other interest: native to central and S.E. U.S., Ontario; common name from seeds resembling ticks; totally different in size and habit from others of genus; deserving of wide use as low maintenance, showy, and tolerant of heat, humidity, and drought

Other culture: may be invasive by seeds in warm climates, in which case deadhead after flowering or it may naturalize in large colonies; may sprawl if shade or too moist or fertile soils; in which case cut back by half in early summer to promote shorter, more compact growth; if weakens in vigor, divide every 3 years or so; if too vigorous, may need staking in winds

Propagation: division, seed

Sources: North Creek Nurseries (wholesale), Digging Dog nursery (CA), Niche Gardens (NC)

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