Simply The Best Natives-Rudbeckia Hirta


“I know a plain old fashioned farmhouse down a pretty little lane Where yellow daisies make a pathway to the fields of golden grain. There a little girl is waiting where I found her years ago; Something Tells me that I’m welcome where the Black-eyed Susans grow.”

~Richard Whiting and Dave Radford



With autumn in full swing, I am looking back at a favorite native wildflower that grows throughout most of my garden all summer.  Rudbeckia hirta, also known as black-eyed-susan, brown-eyed susan, brown betty, gloriosa daisy, yellow daisy, and yellow ox-eye daisy, is part of the Aster Family (Asteraceae).

This North American species is native to Eastern and Central North America from Massachusetts to Wyoming, and south to Florida all the way over to New Mexico.  You can find it growing in pastures, plains, prairies, meadows and at the edge of woodlands.

The genus name, Rudbeckia, is named for Olaus Rudbeck, who was a professor of botany in Sweden and one of Linnaeus’s teachers. amanda

As I profile this wonderful native plant, I am linking in with Gail@Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday meme, and Diana@Elephant’s Eye at False Bay and her Dozen for Diana monthly meme.  And I am joining forces once again this year with a local native plant nursery, Amanda’s Garden, to buy native plants for my garden.  The owner, Ellen Folts, specializes in woodland, prairie and wetland native perennials.  Check out her wonderful 2015 Catalog to see which natives Ellen is selling this year.




Growing Conditions

DSCN0546Here in my garden, Rudbeckia hirta is a short-lived perennial growing up to 3 feet tall and wide. The alternate leaves are covered by coarse hair, with branching stems.  This species flowers the second year if grown from seed, and the blooms can get as big as 4 inches with yellow ray-like petals and a brown or black, dome-shaped cone in the center.

It is a great plant for part shade or sun in moist or dry soils tolerating drought and spring flooding.  I have found that if the plant has shade, it will bloom longer.

Rudbeckia hirta propagates easily from seed sown in fall.  They can become aggressive if left to grow.  Cut the seed heads off to control the self-seeding.  Because the species plant is short-lived, it is best to let some of plants self-seed for future growth.




Benefits to Wildlife 

DSCN0529Of course the seeds are prized by many birds for food, so you may need to compete with them for seeds.  Especially the ravenous finches.

This flower also attracts butterflies when planted in large groupings, and is the larval host for the Gorgone Checkerspot and Bordered Patch butterfly.  

The nectar is sought after by bees and other insects that love nectar.




DSCN5826Rudbeckia hirta is used in gardens and parks in beds and containers.  There are numerous cultivars that have been developed and the list seems almost endless.

There are four varieties found throughout North America:

  • Rudbeckia hirta var. angustifolia – found in the southeast from South Carolina to Texas
  • Rudbeckia hirta var. floridana – found in Florida
  • Rudbeckia hirta var. hirta – found in the Eastern United States from Maine to Alabama.
  • Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima. found throughout most of North America from Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to Alabama and New Mexico.

Rudbeckias are great to cut and use in a vase as they can last over a week. 

This plant is said to have nutritional value and health benefits although parts of the plant are not edible.




Folklore and Tales 

Rudbeckia hirta is the state flower of Maryland and was designated as such in 1918.  You will see it DSCN5755prominently displayed especially at the Preakness Stakes horse race.

Native American tribes used the root to treat colds, flu and infections.  It also helped sores, snakebites, swelling and earaches.  It is said some tribes also used it as a diuretic.


Rudbeckia hirta  is said to symbolize Justice





Rudbeckia collage


Do you grow Rudbeckia?  Do you have a favorite Rudbeckia species or cultivar?




In A Vase On Monday 



Autumn is a wonderful time for roses to bloom again with the cooling weather.  I used this lovely Belleek vase to show off the dainty blooms of this red Knockout rose.




rose aster vase collage

Some asters still bloom in my mid October garden so they seemed a perfect addition to this vase.




fall crocus cup

And of course Colchicum or Autumn crocus is a great plant in a vase.  I know this because Cathy, showed hers off in her vase post.  I knew immediately that I wanted to float some in this special tea cup.




fall crocus collage

This is an unnamed Waterlily-type Colchicum.  And the tea cup is from my mother-in-law’s Homer Laughlin 1940s china named, Cosmos. I have previously used the sugar bowl and creamer as vases in the spring.  I have been looking for the perfect flower for a tea cup vase.  So thank you Cathy for giving me the idea.


I will be joining in late on Monday or Tuesday with a few memes this week as I prepare these vases:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.



Next up on the blog:  

Monday, I will be updating the veg garden as we put it to bed for late fall.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday.



I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2015.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.