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Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta

(Order: Asterales  Family: Asteraceae)

Kansas: Sedgwick County. Waste Management Site. 37° 51.432’ N -97° 11.070’ W. Large patches all throughout the site.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) community. Photo by: Emily Anderson, 2012.

Rudbeckia hirta focal plant. Photo by: Emily Anderson, 2012


Height: 12’’-24’’ tall

Stems: Erect, 1 to several, branched and hairy most often, coarsely spread

Rudbeckia hirta stem.

Photo by: Emily Anderson, 2012

Leaves: Leaves are simple, alternate and variable.  Stalked below and sessile above, oblanceolate to elliptic up to 6 inches in length. Width is between 1/2 to 2 inches, coarsely hairy; entire or shallow-toothed margins; tips are usually blunt

Rudbeckia hirta Leaf.

Photo by: Emily Anderson, 2012

Inflorescence: Solitary, terminal heads on long stalks, hemispheric to egg-shaped at 2 to 3 inches in width; bracts sometimes prominently elongate, hairy and stiff

Rudbeckia hirta Inflorescence.

Photo by: Emily Anderson, 2012

Flowers: 8 to 21 orange-yellow ray florets with length between 1 to 1.5 inches.  Purplish brown disk florets.

Rudbeckia hirta Flowers.

Photo by: Emily Anderson, 2012

Fruits: Achenes that are black, glabrous, and 4-angled, lacking bristles or scales at tips, enclosing a small seed.

Flowering Period: May to October

Habitat: Prefer moist to wet habitats, prairies that are disturbed and/or rocky, waste ground and railroads/roadsides, open woods, thickets, meadows, pastures, and slopes.

Etymology:  The genus honors the University of Uppsal’s professor of botany, Olaus Rudbeck.

Conservation Status: Not currently threatened

Native Status: Native to U.S.

Distribution: Widespread in Kansas, mainly the east half and sporadically in west.

Distribution of Rudbeckia hirta in the United States.  From the USDA Plants Database.

Visitors: They attract almost every type of pollinator, mainly bees and flies. 

Relevant Videos:

"How to choose a Rudbeckia hirta"

Human Uses: Rudbeckia hirta is used as a garden ornamental, the leaves have been used to make a diuretic tea, and the roots have been used to make a tea that helps treat colds.



Illinois Wildflowers:



U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of

            scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington,

            DC. 416 p.  [11573]

Elpel, Thomas J. 2004. Botany In a Day: The Pattern Method of Plant Identification.

            HOPS Press, Pony, Montana. 171.

The Plants Database. 2000.  National Plant Data Center. 26 July 2012.


Kansas Wildflowers. 2007. Kansas State University Libraries. 26 July 2012.  


 Image Credits:

Rudbeckia hirta community in the field. Photo by Emily Anderson, 2012

Rudbeckia hirta focal plant in the field. Photo by Emily Anderson, 2012

Rudbeckia hirta stem. Photo by Emily Anderson, 2012

Rudbeckia hirta leaf. Photo by Emily Anderson, 2012

Rudbeckia hirta inflorescence. Photo by Emily Anderson, 2012

Rudbeckia hirta flowers. Photo by Emily Anderson, 2012

United States Distribution Map from the USDA Plants Database.

Submitted by: Emily Anderson, July, 2012.

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