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Why Is Coreopsis Called Tickseed? [Queries Answered]

If you hold the misconception about Cereopsis attracting Ticks just because Coreopsis is called Tickseed, that is far from the truth.

The fruit of Coreopsis produces small oval, dark brown to black seeds of 2-4 mm that closely resemble an ectoparasite, Ticks. Following similar physical attributes (shape, size, and color), Coreopis is called Tickseed.

Besides, the vibrant blooms of Coreopsis are an excellent attraction for pollinators, helping the pollination of neighboring plants. But the seeds could lead to invasion when left unattended.

Is Tickseed Perennial?

Native to North America and parts of the United States, Coreopsis or Tickseed are known for their ability to withstand various climatic conditions. 

With over 80 types of Coreopsis, most varieties are winter hardy from zone 4 to zone 9 and persist for 4 to 5 years once planted. 

These plants go dormant in response to the winter and save themselves for reviving in the following growing season once the temperature is above 65°F.

Generally, the winter hardy species of Coreopsis, like Coreopsis verticillata (Thread tickseed) and Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleag tickseed), are perennial. But some Tickseeds fail to withstand the winter, lose their vegetation and roots, and thus are annual. 

The annual Tickseeds include Coreopsis Basalis (Dwarf Tickseed), Mahogany Midget Tickseed, and Plains Gold Tickseeds.

Needless to worry, you can prolong the annual Coreopsis’s lifespan by providing bright sunlight for 6-8 hours.

A bunch of Coreopsis flower.
Apart from the seeds, Coreopsis can elevate your garden with its vibrant colors.

Meanwhile, provide optimum conditions for the plant even after the warm growing condition to help the plant transition into the next growing season.

Also, wrap your plants with a burlap cover or fleece blanket as winter protection when the temperature plunge below freezing point. 

Did you know that Coreopsis is a distant cousin of Gerbera Daisy and Sunflower? Cereopsis, Gerbera Daisy and Sunflower belong to the Daisy family, Asteraceae.

Why Is Coreopsis Called Tickseed?

Most gardeners and horticulturists know Coreopsis as Tickseeds owing to its extremely close resemblance to the bloodsucking Ticks.

From a distance, the brown-to-black shade of the seeds can easily deceive the observer for the pest’s exoskeleton. 

Generally, the seeds are 2-4 mm, oval and dark, similar to the appearance of the Ticks, justifying the name Tickseed.

Not to mention, seeds of some Coreopsis varieties have mottled or speckled seeds that look exactly like the exoskeleton of the Ticks.

A collage of tickseeds on the left and ticks on a flower on the right.
A side-by-side comparison will help you understand why people confuse Ticks and Tickseeds.

While many believe Coreopsis attracts ticks and other bugs, research is still to prove it.

Despite the spooky appearance of the seeds, the daisy-like flower flaunts solid patterns and colors. You’ll only get the seeds once the yellow, orange, pink, or red flower matures into a fruit. 

The seed-containing fruit, known as achene, matures in about 4 to 6 weeks and releases its seeds. 

Unfortunately, the Coreopsis can self-seed and turn invasive in their non-native areas. Also, the plant focused on seed production loses the flower’s aesthetics as it fades away. 

So, deadhead the Coreopsis to divert the energy into vibrant blooms one after the other.

Editor’s Note 

Wait For Full Bloom Before Harvesting!

Only the seeds from fully developed fruits are viable, so watch for the sign of maturity. 

The color of the seed heads starts changing from green to brown or tan. It’s time to harvest once the seed heads are dry and darker in color.

Moreover, you can store the harvested seed in a paper bag for future use.