Coreopsis gigantea

I briefly visited the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley on my return trip north a couple weeks ago (in fact, on my birthday). An afternoon is definitely not enough time to visit the garden; it is without doubt one of the finest university collection of plants in North America.

One of my goals was to replicate this photograph, and I’ll post one of my versions sometime soon. The rest of the time I wandered through the collections, before returning to my long drive home.

Giant coreopsis is native to southern California and Baja California. It is a plant of coastal areas, with perhaps the best populations found on California’s Channel Islands. In the Botanical Garden at Berkeley, a few groups of plants can be easily found in the California beds of the garden. I wish I had visited a week or so earlier to photograph them in full bloom, but if this photograph doesn’t give you a good idea of the appearance of this shrubby perennial, there are plenty more available online: CalPhotos, USDA PLANTS database, and, with a small write-up, Michael Charters’s Calflora.net.

Coreopsis gigantea is considered “more or less pachycaul” by the Flora of North America. Pachycaul refers generally to the disproportionally thickened stems, though other definitions of the term can also be found. An excellent article on pachycaulous plants is available on the Berkeley BG site, written by one of its volunteers, Fred Dortort: “Elephants, Incense and the Bursera Family“.

Coreopsis gigantea

12 responses to “Coreopsis gigantea”

  1. Ginny (in Maine)

    Daniel,
    Thanks so much for the incredible amount of time and effort – and talent and skill – you put into this great resource. My only remaining request remains: a way to contribute to BPotD! Best wishes from Maine – where the snow is finally really melting, slowly…

  2. J

    Holy cow – that’s a Coreopsis TREE!
    Thanks for the share!
    And happy belated birthday!
    J

  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Ah yes, I should have mentioned. They can grow to over 3m high.

  4. Linda Young

    Happy Belated Birthday!
    I think visiting a botanical garden is a wonderful way to spend one’s birthday (you are so clever).
    Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures.

  5. Katherine

    Wow! What an interesting looking plant.
    To me, it looks like it could appear at night in a gardener’s dream, the nightmarish lesson on what happens if you don’t do proper pruning to prevent certain plants from getting too woody.

  6. Meg Bernstein

    Wow, gorgeous! Thanks.

  7. Lynne

    How wonderful! It looks like something out of Dr. Seuss.

  8. Jandy

    Happy Birthday!

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    we can always count on daniel
    to come up with a picture
    to stir our minds up
    lord of the rings for me
    or perhaps the dune
    thank you daniel

  10. Beverley

    Coreopsis gigantea – Z8 – RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
    Coreopsis, kor-e-op-sis, from Gr. koris, a bug or tick, and opsis, a resemblance, from the appearance of the seed, hence Eng. name of Tickseed. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith

  11. Michelle Linh

    Happy belated birthday Daniel! Thanks so much for sharing your talent & time. Your work is appreciated each & every time even if you only hear from me once in awhile (really just because I don’t want to inundate you w/ thank you’s!). My favorites from you are usually close-ups of flowers, but I also love unusual tree structures such as this Coreopsis gigantea. The quality of your photography is crystal clear & gorgeous!

  12. hong

    Very interesting trees with flowers blossoming by this way. Very fresh.

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