100 Common Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie: A Field Guide
Asteraceae Sunflower Family
Largeflower tickseed is a delicate little shrub of dry, sunny, prairie uplands and open woodlands. The golden yellow flowers bloom on round, wiry stems up to forty inches tall that extend above the leaves. Each flower is a composite two or three inches across with many disk florets and six to twelve inch-long ray florets with four-toothed tips. Underneath are curved, transparent, dark yellow sepals and a row of long, pointed bracts.
Pollinators seeking nectar include long- and short-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers. Largeflower tickseed is the host plant for several species of caterpillars and a number of mammals eat its foliage, too. The genus name Coreopsis is from the Greek koris, “bug,” and –opsis, “resembling” because its small, dry, single-seeded fruits look like ticks.
White Prairie Clover
Fabaceae Legume Family
White prairie clover sends its nitrogen-fixing roots down as many as five feet into rocky, sunny prairies and savannas. It waits to bloom for several years, and then ten flower stalks shoot up as much as three feet above the leaves in early summer. They bear dense, one- to three-inch, terminal spikes of around seventy tiny flowers that bloom in rings from the bottom up. Each has five white petals in the Fabaceae arrangement and five white stamens. The pinnately compound leaves have five to nine leaflets. Glands dot the stems, undersides of leaves, calyx, and seeds.
Its mild, sweet fragrance attracts bees, wasps, and butterflies, and it is a host plant for dogface butterflies. It is a monocarpic plant, which means it produces fruit once before it dies.