(Coreopsis lanceolata) Thistle family

Flowers-heads - Showy, bright golden yellow, the 6 to io

wedge-shaped, coarsely toothed ray florets around yellowish disk

florets soon turning brown; each head on a very long, smooth,

slender footstalk. Stems. 1 to 2 ft. high, tufted. Leaves: A few

seated on stem, lance-shaped to narrowly oblong; or lower ones

crowded, spatulate, on slender petioles.

Preferred Habitat - Open, sunny places, moist or dry.

Flowering Season - May-September.

Distribution - Western Ontario to Missouri and the Gulf States;

escaped from gardens in the East.

Glorious masses of this prolific bloomer persistently outshine

all rivals in the garden beds throughout the summer. Cut as many

slender-stalked flowers and buds as you will for vases indoors,

cut them by armfuls, and two more soon appear for every one

taken. From seeds scattered by the wind over a dry, sandy field

adjoining a Long Island garden one autumn, myriads of these

flowers swarmed like yellow butterflies the next season. Very

slight encouragement induces this coreopsis to run wild in the

East. Grandiflora, with pinnately parted narrow leaves and

similar flowers, a Southwestern species, is frequently a runaway.

Bees and flies, attracted by the showy neutral rays which are

borne solely for advertising purposes, unwittingly

cross-fertilize the heads as they crawl over the tiny, tubular,

perfect florets massed together in the central disk; for some of

these florets having the pollen pushed upward by hair brushes and

exposed for the visitor's benefit, while others have their sticky

style branches spread to receive any vitalizing dust brought to

them, it follows that quantities of vigorous seed must be set.

"There is a natural rotation of crops, as yet little understood,"

says Miss Going. "Where a pine forest has been cleared away, oaks

come up; and a botanist can tell beforehand just what flowers

will appear in the clearings of pine woods. In northern Ohio,

when a piece of forestland is cleared, a particular sort of grass

appears. When that is ploughed under, a growth of the golden

coreopsis comes up, and the pretty yellow blossoms are followed

in their turn by the plebeian rag-weed which takes possession of

the entire field."

The charmingly delicate, wiry GARDEN TICKSEED, known in

seedsmen's catalogues as CALLIOPSIS (Coreopsis tinctoria), which

has also locally escaped to roadsides and waste places eastward,

is at home in moist, rich soil from Louisiana, Arizona, and

Nebraska northward into Minnesota and the British Possessions.

>From May to September its fine, slender, low-growing stems are

crowned with small yellow composite flowers whose rays are

velvety maroon or brown at the base. (Coreopsis = like a bug,

from the shape of the seeds.)


(Bidens laevis; B. chrysanthemoides of Gray) Thistle family

Flower-heads - Showy golden yellow, 1 to 2 1/2 in. across,

numerous, on short peduncles; 8 to 10 neutral rays around a dingy

yellowish or brown disk of tubular, perfect, fertile florets.

Stem: 1 to 2 ft. high. Leaves: Opposite, sessile, lance-shaped,

regularly saw-toothed.

Preferred Habitat - Wet ground, swamps, ditches, meadows.

Flowering Season - August-November.

Distribution - Quebec and Minnesota, southward to the Gulf States

and Lower California.

Next of kin to the golden coreopsis, it behooves some of the

bur-marigolds to redeem their clan's reputation for ugliness and

certainly the brook sunflower is a not unworthy relative. How gay

the ditches and low meadows are with its bright, generous bloom

in late summer, and until even the goldenrod wands turn brown!

Yet all this show is expended merely for advertising purposes.

The golden ray florets, sacrificing their fertility to the

general welfare of the cooperative community, which each

flower-head is in reality, have grown conspicuous to attract bees

and wasps, butterflies, flies, and some beetles to the dingy mass

of tubular florets in the center, in which nectar is concealed,

while pollen is exposed for the visitors to transfer as they

crawl. The rays simply make a show; within the minute,

insignificant looking tubes is transacted the important business

of life.

Later in the season, when the bur-marigolds are transformed into

armories bristling with rusty, two-pronged, and finely-barbed

pitchforks (Bidens = two teeth), our real quarrel with the tribe

begins. The innocent passerby - man, woman, or child, woolly

sheep, cattle with switching tails, hairy dogs or foxes, indeed,

any creature within reach of the vicious grappling-hooks - must

transport them on his clothing; for it is thus that these tramps

have planned to get away from the parent plant in the hope of

being picked off, and the seeds dropped in fresh colonizing

ground; travelling in the disreputable company of their kinsmen

the beggar-ticks and Spanish needles, the burdock burs, cleavers,

agrimony, and tick-trefoils.

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