Thursday, August 9, 2012

The 3 Wings of Tall Coreopsis

A common native in prairie remnants, Coreopsis tripteris often towers above the surrounding vegetation. 
The leaves appear to be compound with three (or more) leaflets, and most authors treat them this way, but they might be just very deeply lobed.
The specific epithet "tripteris" means "three wings" or "three feathers," perhaps an allusion to the venation of the three leaflets, especially noticeable on the underside. The Latin "pteris" is often used in reference to ferns, again meaning "wing" or "feather."
The word "Coreopsis" will always remind me of the lovable Walter Mitty (see "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber).

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