LANCELEAVED TICKSEED GOLDEN COREOPSIS
(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:
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,
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
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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