Fall Wildflowers of New England
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Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia hirta
F. Asteraceae
Rudbeckia hirta
General Description:

Black-eyed susan is a relatively large wildflower, ranging from 30-90 cm. in height. As indicated by its name, the flower head has a prominent black or dark-brown central cone that is surrounded by rich, yellow, petal-like rays. The leaves are long, lanceolate, and rough to the touch. The stalk is robust and also coarsely textured.

Flowers:

Each black-eyed susan has a singular flowerhead positioned atop the terminal shoot. The flowerheads are quite large, measuring 5-7.5 cm. in width, and are radially symmetrical. The bloom has a prominent black or dark-brown hairy central cone that is surrounded by rich-yellow, long, ray-like, prominently linearly-veined, bristle-tipped petal-like rays. rays grow form the underportion of the central cone and droop slightly downward.

Fruit:

The seed-like fruit is small and brown.

Leaves:

The leaves of the black-eyed susan are quite long, measuring approximately 5-17.5 cm. They are thin and lanceolate-to-ovate in shape. The leaves have winged petioles, are prominently veined, rough to the touch, and sometimes sparsely toothed. Leaves are several and grow irregularly along the length of the stalk.

Habitat:

Black-eyed Susan grows best in fields, prairies, or open woods.

Fun Facts:

The black-eyed susan is incredibly resilient and can grow efficiently in also any condition. In fact, it is known as a pioneer plant, meaning that it is one of the first plants to grow in areas decimated by fire and other natural disasters.

Black-eyed susan is a popular food source for slugs, aphids, rabbits and deer.

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