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This member of the daisy family explodes with bright, sunny flowers (fulgida means “shining”) in mid to late summer. In spring, dark green basal leaves prepare the way for a profusion of yellow-orange, daisy-like flowers with dark, cone-shaped “eyes” (other common names are orange coneflower and black-eyed Susan). The tidy, three-foot-tall mound brings excellent texture and long-blooming color to borders, gardens, and naturalized areas. Showy coneflower does best in full sun and dry to medium, well-drained soils with consistent water during the growing season. It adapts well to a wide range of soils, including thin, compacted, dry, and clay. It tolerates light shade, pollution, and drought once established, although drought will shorten the blooming season. It appreciates good air circulation, and deadheading spent flowers will encourage more blooms. It spreads vigorously by rhizomes and even more quickly by self-seeding. Dividing the plant every few years and removing the seed heads will curtail the plant’s generous spread, but it will also frustrate finches and other birds who eat the seeds in winter.  


Native habitats include dry or moist soils in open woods, glades, and thickets. Use in perennial borders, meadows, cottage gardens, and naturalized areas. Great for cut-flower arrangements. 


Plant Characteristics:   

Grows 2-3’ tall and 2-2 ½’ wide.  


Prefers full sun and tolerates light shade. 


Prefers dry to medium moisture, rich, well-drained soils. Adapts to clay, dry, shallow-rocky soils. 


Flowers have yellow-orange ray flowers surrounding black disk flowers from July-September/October. Each flower lasts about two weeks, withering to leave behind black, spherical fruiting heads.  


Alternate, dark green leaves are oblong-lanceolate, rough and sparsely hairy, and usually smooth edged. 


Stems are hairy, ridged, and dark green.  


Wildlife Value:  

Host plant for 23 species of Lepidoptera larvae, including nine specialist moths and silvery checkerspot butterfly, wavy-lined emerald moth (pictured here), and sunflower moth. Bees, butterflies, and moths visit for nectar and pollen. Finches especially enjoy the seeds in winter, and birds sometimes nest in the tangled stems.  


Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:   

Native Americans used an infusion of the roots to treat colds, dropsy, and worms. The liquid in the roots has been used as drops for earaches. 


Some Native Americans cooked the leaves as spring greens.  

Coneflower, Showy, Rudbeckia fulgida

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  • Once we're certain we have good germination, we'll make these plants available for prepurchase.

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