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Vascular Plants of California
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Coreopsis tinctoria

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, simple to 2+ × compound. Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, resembling a flower, of several types (see below), 1--many in generally +- cyme-like cluster; each head generally with +- calyx-like involucre of 1--many series of phyllaries (involucre bracts); receptacle of head flat to conic or columnar, paleate (bearing paleae = receptacle bracts) or epaleate; flowers 1--many per head. Flower: bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, +- small, of several types (see below); calyx 0 or modified into +- persistent pappus of bristles, scales, and/or awns; corolla radial or bilateral (0), lobes generally (0)3--5; stamens 4--5, filaments generally free, generally fused to corolla at tube/throat junction, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, anther base generally rounded or cordate (deeply sagittate or with tail-like appendages), tip (= flattened appendage) generally projecting beyond pollen sac; pistil 1, 2-carpeled, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, placenta basal, style 1, tip generally +- 2-branched (except in some staminate disk flowers), branch tips truncate or generally bearing +- brush-like appendages; stigmas 2, generally on adaxial faces of style branches. Fruit: achene (also called a cypsela) (drupe in Chrysanthemoides), cylindric to ovoid, sometimes compressed, generally deciduous with pappus attached.
Genera In Family: +- 1500 genera, 23000 species: worldwide, many habitats. Note: Flower and head types differ in form and sexual condition. A disk flower has a generally radial corolla, with a cylindric tube, expanded throat, and generally 5 lobes. Disk flowers are generally bisexual and fertile but occasionally staminate with reduced ovaries. Discoid heads comprise only disk flowers. A radiant head is a variant of a discoid head, with peripheral disk flower corollas expanded, often bilateral. A ray flower corolla is bilateral, generally with a slender tube and flattened petal-like ray (single lip composed of generally 3 lobes). Ray flowers are generally pistillate or sterile (occasionally lacking styles). Radiate heads have peripheral ray flowers and central disk flowers. Disciform heads superficially resemble discoid heads, with pistillate or sterile flowers that lack rays, together with or separate from disk flowers. A ligulate flower is bisexual, with a bilateral, generally ephemeral corolla and 5-lobed ligule. Liguliflorous heads comprise only ligulate flowers. See glossary p. 31 for illustrations of family characteristics. Echinops sphaerocephalus L., Gaillardia aristata Pursh, Gaillardia pulchella Foug., Hymenothrix loomisii S.F. Blake, Tagetes erecta L., Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.) Kuntze are waifs. Melampodium perfoliatum Kunth, historic urban waif. Ageratum conyzoides L., Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass., Santolina chamaecyparisus L., orth. var. are rare or uncommon escapes from cultivation. Dyssodia papposa, Ismelia carinata (Schousb.) Sch. Bip. [Chrysanthemum carinatum Schousb.], Mantisalca salmantica (L.) Briq. & Cavill. are historical or extirpated waifs in California. Inula helenium L. not documented in California. Taxa of Aster in TJM (1993) treated here in Almutaster, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum; Chamomilla in Matricaria; Bahia in Hymenothrix; Cnicus in Centaurea; Conyza in Erigeron and Laennecia; Dugaldia in Hymenoxys; Erechtites in Senecio; Hymenoclea in Ambrosia; Lembertia in Monolopia; Osteospermum ecklonis in Dimorphotheca; Picris echioides in Helminthotheca; Prionopsis in Grindelia; Raillardiopsis in Anisocarpus and Carlquistia; Schkuhria multiflora in Picradeniopsis; Trimorpha in Erigeron; Venidium in Arctotis; Whitneya in Arnica. Amauriopsis in TJM2 (2012) treated here in Hymenothrix; Arida in Leucosyris; Bahia in Picradeniopsis.
Unabridged Note: Largest family of vascular plants in California and of eudicots globally.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, except as noted
Scientific Editor: David J. Keil, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CoreopsisView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb. Stem: erect. Leaf: simple or 1--2 × pinnately lobed or compound, basal or cauline, opposite [alternate], sessile or petioled. Inflorescence: heads radiate, 1 or in cyme-like clusters; peduncles short to long; involucre hemispheric or bell-shaped; phyllaries in 2 series, outer +- spreading, thick, green, inner thin, membranous; receptacle flat to rounded, paleate; paleae flat, scarious. Ray Flower: sterile; ray showy, yellow or proximally red-brown and distally yellow. Disk Flower: many; corolla 4--5-lobed, yellow to red-brown; style tips truncate to short triangular. Fruit: generally compressed front-to-back, often winged; pappus 0 or of 2 awns or scales.
Species In Genus: 14--21 species: eastern North America. Etymology: (Greek: bedbug-like, from fruit) Note: Coreopsis wrightii (A. Gray) E.B. Sm. not naturalized in California. Native species moved to Leptosyne.
Unabridged Note: Coreopsis, as recognized in TJM (1993), is polyphyletic. Escaped ornamental species in California all belong to a clade from central and eastern North America including the type sp. of Coreopsis, Coreopsis lanceolata. Native California species formerly in Coreopsis form a separate clade, treated here as Leptosyne. Coreopsis wrightii (A. Gray) H.M. Parker ex E.B. Sm. not naturalized in California.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil
Reference: Kimball & Crawford 2004 Molec Phylogen Evol 33:127--139; Strother 2006 FNANM 21:185--198
Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.
Habit: Plant 3--12 dm, glabrous. Stem: generally 1, erect, much-branched above. Leaf: cauline, opposite, petioled; blade 3--12 cm, proximal 1--2 × divided into linear to narrowly lanceolate, entire lobes, distal simple, linear. Inflorescence: heads many in open, leafy-bracted cyme-like clusters; peduncle 4--10 cm; involucre bell-shaped; outer phyllaries 7--8, 1--3 mm, triangular; inner phyllaries 4.5--8 mm, ovate, obtuse or acute; palea 4--5 mm, linear, red-orange. Ray Flower: generally 8; ray 6--20 mm. Disk Flower: corolla +- 3 mm, 4-lobed, +- red. Fruit: 1.5--2.8 mm, linear-oblong to widely elliptic, black, smooth or minutely rough; wing 0 to wide; pappus 0. Chromosomes: 2n=24,26.
Ecology: Disturbed places, escaped from cultivation; Elevation: < 1000 m. Bioregional Distribution: GV, CW, SW; Distribution Outside California: native northwestern United States to eastern United States. Flowering Time: Generally Jun--Sep
Synonyms: Coreopsis atkinsoniana Lindl.; Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt. var. atkinsoniana (Lindl.) E.B. Sm.
Jepson eFlora Author: David J. Keil
Reference: Kimball & Crawford 2004 Molec Phylogen Evol 33:127--139; Strother 2006 FNANM 21:185--198
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Coreopsis lanceolata
Next taxon: Corethrogyne

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Botanical illustration including Coreopsis tinctoria

botanical illustration including Coreopsis tinctoria


Citation for this treatment: David J. Keil 2012, Coreopsis tinctoria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=2365, accessed on July 12, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 12, 2020.

Coreopsis tinctoria
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Coreopsis tinctoria
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Coreopsis tinctoria
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Coreopsis tinctoria
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Coreopsis tinctoria
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse
Coreopsis tinctoria
click for enlargement
© 2016 Keir Morse

More photos of Coreopsis tinctoria in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Coreopsis tinctoria:
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).