For Your Garden - September 2017
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta
Photo © 2017, Joe Bauer, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Black-eyed Susan can be found in moist prairies, open woods, pastures, fields, roadsides and savannas in the eastern half of the state. This plant has upright, hairy stems. The simple, lance‐shaped leaves are arranged alternately along the stem. Each hairy leaf has teeth that are widely spaced along the margin. Flowering occurs from June through October. One flower head is produced per plant, although sometimes the plant branches near the base and produces one flower per stem. The flower head contains many small flowers that are of two types: yellow ray flowers (10 to 20 per flower head), about three-fourths inch long; and purple‐brown, tubular flowers in the dome‐shaped center. Some individual plants may have pale‐yellow ray flowers with white tips. Each flower head is about two and one‐half to two and three‐fourths inches wide. This plant may grow to a height of two to three feet. Black-eyed Susan is a short-lived perennial or a biennial (living two years). It readily grows from its seeds, though. The flower heads attract a variety of pollinating insects.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.