Add Coreopsis Integrifolia to the Home Landscape
There are over two dozen coreopsis varieties in North American on BONAP and twenty grow in Georgia. Coreopsis integrifolia also known as Chipola River tickseed or fringeleaf tickseed is a rare species that is threatened in Georgia and only found naturally in a few areas of the Coastal Plain.
My goal to restore nature where I live gives me plenty of room to add a threatened native coreopsis even though it might not be found growing in Atlanta. Like the imperiled Georgia aster, even if Coreopsis integrifolia only has a handful of populations in Georgia, maybe making it more common in residential habitat yards will help prevent it from disappearing from Georgia in the future.
My idea is also to grow more straight species of coreopsis to offset the endless supply of hybridized coreopsis from both North and South America the nursery industry is churning out to please landscapers, not nature. Before 2000, most breeding was about tweaking straight species of coreopsis for home gardens, but since 2000 plant breeders have accelerated the number of hybrid coreopsis with attributes not necessarily good for habitat value.
One of the biggest attributes of Coreopsis integrifolia is it’s one of the very last flowers to bloom in late fall for the bitter end pollinators. If you look closely, you might see any number of small insects on it. Like all Coreopsis species, little birds also love the seeds of this one.
There are many other reasons to add Coreopsis integrifolia to the landscape: it only grows 2 feet tall, it can grow in sunny to partly shady areas, it spreads easily but not aggressively by rhizomes as long as it is growing in damp or wet areas, and it doesn’t mind our hot and humid Atlanta summers. I learned it also self-seeds when I found some I didn’t plant at the edge of my driveway where it often floods when it rains. One of the names for Coreopsis integrifolia is floodplain tickseed which means it's a good choice for a rain garden or a floodplain forest and streambank restoration site. Coreopsis integrifolia does need moisture though. The various patches of Coreopsis integrifolia in my small rewilded yard had a tough time with our unusually dry late summer and fall but rallied a bit in the last few weeks after a few solid rain showers.
This is one of the Coreopsis integrifolia flowers that appeared at the base of my driveway growing in a patch of shallow sedge/carex lurida. It looks like a slug and maybe even a small leaf cutter bee has nibbled on it.
I was unaware how rare coreopsis integrifolia was when I bought it at a native plant sale years ago. The biggest challenge is finding coreopsis integrifolia to add to your yard. Ask at your local native plant nursery if they can offer it at some point, or see if any of your obsessive native plant friends can give you a plant or seeds so you can grow your own.