ORRIN MORRIS: Coreopsis, yellow daisy often mistaken for each other

Coreopsis angustiflora

Coreopsis angustiflora

One of the most important lessons I try to get across to my art students is to truly see what I am having them to draw. There seems to be a giant step for some students between “looking” and truly seeing an object.

Have you ever pointed at something and said to your children, “look!” but they glanced at it and turned away? You knew they didn’t really see what you wanted them to see.

When I observe the artwork of some of my students I know they have seen the shape, texture, shadows, highlights, and colors of the object. Once they have truly learned to see things as an artist, they are on their way to growing to new heights.

Learning to see from a spiritual perspective allows us to grow, too. I know from experience that is what God has been trying to teach me throughout my lifetime.

The verse today is a personal invitation to grow spiritually. “Come and see the works of God…” (Psalm 66:5).


Coreopsis angustiflora

This coreopsis is everywhere along our roadsides right now. It has a yellow daisy-like bloom atop a 2- to 3-foot stem. The center of the 2-inch bloom is deep reddish-brown and the yellow rays are scalloped.

The leaves are about half an inch wide and 2 inches long. At the base of the stem the leaves are about 3 inches long. They get smaller as they ascend the stem.

The coreopsis is a perennial that grows from a rhizome (an underground section of the stem that lies horizontally and stores nutrients for the plant).

The narrow-leaf coreopsis blooms from May through August, but in the right circumstances it will continue into October. Its habitat is moist but well-drained sandy or rocky areas. Thus these plants are present in ditches and banks along the roadside and in woody areas around our granite outcroppings.

Coreopsis and yellow daisy are often mistaken for each other, but a careful examination can clarify the issue. Coreopsis petals are scalloped while the yellow daisy’s are smooth.

As important as the difference in shape is, of greater significance is the fact that coreopsis begins blooming in May but yellow daisies appear only in September and October.

Coreopsis thrives in rocky and sandy soils almost anywhere in this area while yellow daisies need the habitat of granite outcrops. Both flowers are yellow, but the center of the coreopsis that starts yellow turns to brown as it ages. On the other hand, the yellow daisy remains yellow though it becomes slightly more golden in hue as it matures.

My prayer is that as you look at wildflowers you will be able to see their true beauty and find delight in their presence as a divine gift. “Come and see the works of God… ” (Psalm 66:5).

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. This column is included in a two-volume set of books of wildflower columns he has published. To purchase the books, visit the Nature Seen Gallery & Frame Shop, 914 Center Street in Olde Town Conyers. Email him at odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com.