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Publication #FPS142

Coreopsis leavenworthii1

Edward F. Gilman, Jeffrey G. Norcini, Teresa Howe2


Thirteen Coreopsis species occur in Florida, eleven of which are widely considered native to Florida. Coreopsis tinctoria is native to the U.S but is considered non-native in Florida. Coreopsis basalis is considered native by some and non-native by others. The genus Coreopsis is Florida's state wildflower.

Coreopsis leavenworthii (Figure 1) is found throughout Florida, and until recently was considered endemic. It is an annual to short-lived perennial. These colorful plants have pinnately to bipinnately compound leaves. In cultivation, this species has more foliage than what would normally be seen in the wild.

Flowers are bright yellow with a dark brown center. A very narrow orange "ring" around the brown disc flowers might even be noticed. These lovely flowers are held upright upon tall, leafless stems that enable the blooms to be beautifully incorporated into flower arrangements, although there is no information on how C. leaveworthii performs as a cut. The flowers are borne in capitula with small discs, and the ray florets have dentate tips. Flowers are 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter; flowering is from late spring in north Florida to any time in south Florida.

Figure 1. 

Leavenworth's Tickseed.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Coreopsis leavenworthii
Pronunciation: kor-ree-OP-sis lev-en-WERTH-ee-eye
Common name(s): Leavenworth's Tickseed
Family: Asteraceae
Plant type: herbaceous; annual to short-lived perennial
USDA hardiness zones: 8B through 11 (Figure 2)
Planting months for seed
all zones: Sept through Jan
Planting months for transplants
zones 8B and 9: mid Mar to May
zones 10 and 11: mid Feb to May
Origin: native to Florida
Uses: edging; mass planting; attracts butterflies
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of your local area to find the plant

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


Height: 1 to 3 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Plant habit: upright

Plant density: open

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: fine


Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite

Leaf type: pinnately to bipinnately compound

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: linear to oblong

Leaf venation: not applicable

Leaf type and persistence: deciduous

Leaf blade length: 6-8 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: not applicable

Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: yellow, with dark brown center

Flower characteristic: spring, summer, fall, winter; depending on region of Florida


Fruit type: achene

Fruit shape: oval

Fruit length: 1/8"

Fruit cover: not applicable

Fruit color: brown

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Current year stem/twig color: green

Current year stem/twig thickness: thin


Light requirement: full sun to high pine shade

Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay; occasionally wet

Drought tolerance: low

Soil salt tolerance: unknown, but probably low

Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches


Roots: not applicable

Winter interest: may flower during winter months in south Florida

Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding

Invasive potential: may self-seed each year

Pest resistance: no serious pests are normally seen on the plant

Use and Management

Coreopsis species are generally short-lived and may only last 3 to 4 seasons. Try using these plants as a border or edge. They are also excellent for naturalizing and will reseed themselves. The stalks become long and weak and tend to break in windy or rainy weather.

Coreopsis leavenworthii require a sunny position in the landscape. They prefer well-drained soils that are not too rich; rich soils and overwatering cause these plants to topple over. Keep the soil relatively moist and remove dead flowers immediately to prolong blooming. Place these plants 6 to 12 inches apart in the garden.

Seed is the most common method of propagation for Coreopsis. Division can also be accomplished in the spring or fall.

Pests and Diseases

None observed.



This document is FPS142, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1999. Revised November 2003. Reviewed June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Gainesville; Jeffrey G. Norcini, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy; Teresa Howe, former coordinator, Research Programs/Services, Gulf Coast REC, Bradenton; Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.