Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rudbeckia laciniata, or whatever you call it...

Our native Rudbeckia laciniata

   Do we really need so many different names for the same plant? Rudbeckia laciniata is also known as Cutleaf Coneflower, Wild Golden Glow, Green Headed Coneflower, Tall Coneflower, and Thimbleweed. Seriously, as far as I'm concerned coneflower should only refer to Echinaceas and Thimbleweed should only refer to Anemones.
   Whatever you call it (we just call it Tall Rudbeckia) is blooming now. It seems every green metallic bee and all the species of wasps within a 50 mile radius are gettin' happy on these flowers right now. We love these plants not only because of the insect show, but they also just have such a presence in the garden or out in the wild, easily reaching 5-6 feet tall in big clumps and bearing bright, cool yellow flowers for many weeks in late summer. They can get pretty droopy if the soil dries out too much, it's one of the handful of plants in our yard that needs extra water. No wonder though, it grows natively along the rivers edge just down the hill from our house.
   There's also a native cultivar floating around the nurseries called "Herbstsonne", which thanks to my elementary German I remember means Autumn Sun. A very apt name since it's flowers are, I believe, slightly warmer gold in color. The quality of these hybrids seem to vary greatly, some have not proved hardy for me, while one plant in particular looks to be on steroids, standing between 6-7 feet tall.
   If you need a "Statement" piece in your garden, plant some Tall Rudbeckia, the bees will love the pollen, the birds will love the seeds, and you'll love the show.

See, I told you the bees like it!

A patch of Rudbeckia down along the river.

Rudbeckia "Herbstsonne" on steroids at a family members house, if I knew it was going to get that big I'd never have planted it that close to the sidewalk.

A close-up of "Herbstsonne". Note the fuller petals and darker yellow color.


  1. I agree, thimbleweeds are anemones and coneflowers are rudbeckias! These tall ones really are statement plants, not only with their height but with the golden color that just looks like sunshine all over.

  2. Laurrie, I think of sunshine too when I see them!

  3. They come along just when the bees need them. Gorgeous!

  4. I've had those flowers in my ex-garden. Sometimes there were lots of flowers and sometimes none.

  5. I have found these to be very invasive. Wonderful native wildflowers in fields and wetlands, but not for flower gardens. They spread by rhiizomes and seeds.