Photo by Mary Keim
Click on terms for botanical definitions.
This annual to perennial herbaceous wildflower has showy, daisy-like flowers comprised of bright yellow ray florets surrounding a center of dark brown to black disk florets. The ray florets are also toothed. Its leaves are small, linear and oppositely arranged. They may be lobed or unlobed. Seeds are awned achenes; their resemblance to small bugs gives the basis for the plant’s common name of “tickseed.”
Leavenworth’s tickseed can bloom year-round. Its natural habitat is mesic pine flatwoods, but it is often used as a component of mixed wildflower and butterfly gardens, and is excellent for sunny roadsides, highway medians and powerline easements. It attracts many pollinators and is eaten by rabbits (if you’re lucky enough to have rabbits in your landscape).
C. leavenworthii is almost endemic to Florida — its only other occurrences are in two Alabama counties.
Family: Asteraceae (Aster, daisy or composite family)
Native range: mostly throughout Florida
To see where natural populations of Leavenworth’s tickseed have been vouchered, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Moist, acidic soils
Exposure: Full sun
Growth habit: 1–3’+ tall
Garden tips: Leavenworth’s tickseed is very adaptable and can tolerate moist to very dry conditions. It is a profuse self-seeder and can form dense colonies if left alone.
Leavenworth’s tickseed seeds are available through the Florida Wildflower Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.