(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.) LARGER or SMOOTH BUR-MARIGOLD; BROOK SUNFLOWER (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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