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Coreopsis major

Greater tickseed

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:   Coreopsis major is an upright perennial with airy foliage and lovely yellow flowers.  The deep green foliage appears to be whorled but actually consists of pairs of 3 lobed leaves .  In late spring pollinators flock to the bright yellow daisy-like blossoms.  Plants thrive in dry open woods or sunny gardens with average soil.

HABITAT & HARDINESS:  Coreopsis major is native to the southeastern United States and parts of the northeast from Pennsylvania to the Florida panhandle and west to Kentucky and Louisiana.

Habitats include dry open woods, oak barrens, longleaf pine forests, pine-oak woodlands, roadsides, sandhills, pine flatwoods, old fields, granite outcrops, prairies and savannas

Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 5-9.

PLANT DESCRIPTION:   Coreopsis major is a perennial wildflower that forms colonies from long slender rhizomes.

Leaves are tripartite or deeply divided into 3 narrow segments.  They are arranged in pairs on opposite sides of the stem.  This gives the appearance that there are 6 leaves whorled at each node. 

Foliage is deep green with a toothed or entire margin.  Leaves are sessile with no petioles.  The upper leaves are smaller and entire and the lower or basal leaves are usually absent during the growing season. 

The stems terminate in loose rounded clusters of 2” bright yellow daisies.  The 7+ ray flowers have pointed or rounded tips and no teeth.  They are arranged in a whorl around a cluster of yellow or red disk flowers.  Butterflies and bees visit the flowers.

Flowering begins in late spring and continues through the summer.  Clusters of dark achene seed form after blooming.

In flower this plant is generally 2-3’ tall with a 1-2’ spread.

CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS:  Coreopsis major is an adaptable wildflower.  It flourishes in sun or light shade and mesic loams or dry infertile sandy or rocky soils

Plants tolerate drought, humidity and heat. 

In garden situations, deadheading will extend the bloom period and prevent unwanted seedlings.

Plants have no serious pests and are unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.

LANDSCAPE USES:  This is a good choice for Meadows or Wildlife Gardens. Plants are also used as Accents or Butterfly Nectar Plants or as part of a Grouping or Mass Planting.  Coreopsis major has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings, Perennial Borders and Roadsides.

COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS:  Try pairing Coreopsis major with Asclepias tuberosaAster spectabilisBaptisia australis, Campanula rotundifolia, Sporobolus heterolepis or Schizachyrium scoparium.

Coreopsis lanceolata has similar height and cultural needs and would be a suitable substitute.

TRIVIA:  The bases of tickseed flowers appear to have a double row of sepals.  The upper whorl is actually a ring of 8 or so phyllaries or inner floral bracts.  The lower ring consists of 8 outer bracts.

Found most frequently in the wild in lightly shaded dry woods.  In this situations plants are open and leggy – often leaning toward the sun.  In sunny garden situations plants are larger, bolder and more floriferous.  They attain a height up to 4’ or more, have denser foliage and multitudes of clear yellow flowers.


2-3 ft


1-2 ft


2-3 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:


Bloom Color:


Coreopsis major Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Songbirds
  • Pollinators
  • Butterflies


  • Full Sun


  • East-Coast Native
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Cut Flower
  • Rock Garden
  • Naturalizing

Flowering Months

  • July
  • June

Foliage Color

  • Green

Growth Rate

  • Medium

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Summer
  • Spring

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Dry to Moist

Plants that work well with Coreopsis major ''

Butterfly weed Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Showy aster Showy aster (Aster spectabilis)
Blue false indigo Blue false indigo (Baptisia australis)
Harebell Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
Prairie dropseed Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Little bluestem Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Robert Poore garden phlox Robert Poore garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Robert Poore')
Summer phlox Summer phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Moss phlox Moss phlox (Phlox subulata)
Black-eyed Susan Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida v. deamii)

Substitutions for Coreopsis major

Lanceleaf tickseed Lanceleaf tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata)