In The Garden: Small wildflower with a statewide impact
Tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii) is a native wildflower found in nearly every Florida county. In South Florida, the cultivar of tickseed blooms year-round with spring being its peak flowering season.
Tickseed has showy yellow petals, with a brownish center and the little flowers are about a half-inch to just over 1 inch in diameter. The bright little flowers are perched on long spindly stems, with simple leaves, bringing all the attention to the bright yellow flowers as they wave in the breeze. The plant is very attractive to butterflies and is easily adaptable to a wide array of growing conditions, from dry roadway plantings to wetter areas.
The tickseed is a commonly used wildflower found in the roadside median plantings along highways in Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation’s roadside right-of-way wildflower program began in 1963. In addition to the aesthetic attributes of roadside wildflowers, the Florida DOT noted that wildflower plantings would increase driver alertness, which can only help.
Another interesting fact about this particular tickseed (Coreopsis), Leavenworth tickseed was named after Melines Conklin Leavenworth (1796-1862), who was a Yale graduate, botanist, army surgeon and explorer. She collected plant specimens in the Southeastern United States, Mexico and Central America and, eventually, settled in Augusta, Georgia. This little beauty was discovered by a very interesting woman and has been put on display up and down the highways of Florida. Let it put on a show of its own in your own landscape.
In The Garden is a joint effort by all at the local garden center, at 3889 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel. For more information, contact 239-395-5859 or visit www.facebook.com/rswalshinthegarden.