Rudbeckia hirta, also known as black-eyed-susan, bladder campion flower, yellow daisy or conef is an herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It can grow up to three feet tall with dark green leaves and produces attractive yellow flowers throughout the summer months (Koob, 2010). The blooms are daisy-like and clustered together. Each petal has a brown center with drooping rays surrounding it (Schoen, 1996). Because of its height this plant works well in borders or naturalized areas (Monroe, 2016).
The history of Rudbeckia hirta
Rudbeckia hirta was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 (Koob, 2010). He named the genus of the Rudbeckia after two scientists of the same name: Olof Rudbeck and his son. The Latin word of Hirta means hairy (Monroe, 2016).
How to plant and care for Rudbeckia hirta
It is best to plant Rudbeckia hirta in well-drained soil with lots of organic matter added after the last frost. They can tolerate sun or part sun but need at least six hours a day of sunlight (Koob, 2010) The seeds should be sown around 2 inches apart indoors or directly outside when all danger of frost has passed (Schoen, 1996).
Rudbeckia hirta can be fertilized three times a season with an all-purpose fertilizer (Koob, 2010). Trimming the plant in late summer is recommended to keep it within bound and making sure that no flower heads form (Monroe, 2016). These plants are drought tolerant after they have been established. They do not need any shade or protection from the hot sun. However, bolting is common if plants get too much moisture around their roots so it’s best to dig small trenches around them about 6 inches deep and water these plants regularly during dry spells to prevent this from happening (Koob, 2010).
Uses for Rudbeckia hirta
These flowers are used mainly as ornamental plants as they have a long flowering period from June to September. They can also be used as cut flowers, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds (Schoen, 1996). They have been helpful in treating snakebite and venomous bites because of the presence of glycosides in them which reduce the spread of poison through blood vessels (Koob, 2010). Some people use this plant for its anti-inflammatory properties by making a tea out of its root or by cooking it as a vegetable.
Rudbeckias are not usually eaten by animals but there is an exception: rabbits will eat this plant if nothing else is available. In China two species-“Rudbeckia fulgida” and “Rudbeckia hirta”-are used in traditional medicine to treat stomach ailments, ulcers and inflammation (Koob, 2010)
Different types of Rudbeckia hirta
There are different types of Rudbeckia hirta: Orange coneflower or “cone flower” with large orange flowers at the end of its stem; Sweet black-eyed Susan with light yellow petals and dark center; Coneflower which is a hybrid between “Rudbeckia fulgida” and “hirta”. It has bright yellow petals surrounding brown centers just like the other two types of rudbeckias (Monroe, 2016).
Rudbeckia hirta, also known as black-eyed Susan, is an American wildflower that can be found in almost every state. This flower has a long history of use by Native Americans and settlers for food, dye, and medicine. Rudbeckia hirta grows best in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist soil. The flowers are daisy-like and come in shades of yellow, orange, and red. They bloom from late summer to early fall.