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Among the many prairie wildflowers with showy yellow flowerheads, Prairie Coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata) has the advantage of flowering somewhat earlier in the summer than most of them. It also blooms before the warm-season prairie grasses develop rapidly in response to hot summer weather, allowing its flowerheads to be seen from a distance by flower-visiting insects. Prairie Coreopsis can be distinguished from Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) by its more deeply lobed and shorter leaves; these leaves are distributed evenly along the stems, while the leaves of Sand Coreopsis are more clustered toward the bottoms of the stems. In contrast, the leaves of Prairie Coreopsis have wider lobes than the leaves of Large-flowered Coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora) and Whorled Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata). The leaves of these latter two species have lobes that are thread-like, rather than finger-like. Finally, Prairie Coreopsis is a much shorter plant that blooms earlier than Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris). In addition, the deeply lobed leaves of this latter species are much larger in size. Return


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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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