Rudbeckia hirta

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Rudbeckia hirta
Rudbeckia hirta kz03.jpg
Rudbeckia hirta flowerhead

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Rudbeckia
R. hirta
Binomial name
Rudbeckia hirta
    • Brauneria serotina (Sweet) Bergmans
    • Centrocarpha gracilis (Nutt.) D.Don ex G.Don
    • Centrocarpha hirta (L.) D.Don ex G.Don
    • Coreopsis hirta (L.) Raf.
    • Helianthus hirtus (L.) E.H.L.Krause
    • Obeliscotheca flava (T.V.Moore) Nieuwl. & Lunell
    • Rudbeckia amplectens T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia bicolor Nutt.
    • Rudbeckia brittonii Small
    • Rudbeckia discolor Elliott
    • Rudbeckia divergens T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia flava T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia flexuosa T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia floridana T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia floridana var. angustifolia T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia gracilis Nutt.
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. annulata Clute
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. bicolor Clute
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. brittonii (Small) Fernald
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. corymbifera Fernald
    • Rudbeckia hirta f. dichrona Clute
    • Rudbeckia hirta f. flavescens Clute
    • Rudbeckia hirta f. gigantea Clute
    • Rudbeckia hirta f. homochroma Steyerm.
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. lanceolata (Bisch.) Core
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. major Hook.
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. monticola (Small) Fernald
    • Rudbeckia hirta f. pleniflora Moldenke
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. rubra Clute
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. sericea (T.V.Moore) Fernald
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. serotina (Nutt.) Core
    • Rudbeckia hirta var. tubuliformis Burnham
    • Rudbeckia hirta f. viridiflora Burnham
    • Rudbeckia longipes T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia monticola Small
    • Rudbeckia sericea T.V.Moore
    • Rudbeckia serotina Nutt.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. annulata (Clute) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina var. corymbifera (Fernald) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. dichrona (Clute) Moldenke
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. flavescens (Clute) Moldenke
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. frondosa (Clute) Moldenke
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. gigantea (Clute) Moldenke
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. homochroma (Steyerm.) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina var. lanceolata (Bisch.) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. novae-caesareae Oswald
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. pleniflora (Moldenke) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. pulcherrima (Farw.) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. rubra (Clute) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina var. sericea (T.V.Moore) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. tubuliformis (Burnham) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia serotina f. viridiflora (Burnham) Fernald & B.G.Schub.
    • Rudbeckia strigosa Nutt.

Rudbeckia hirta, commonly called black-eyed Susan, is a North American flowering plant in the family Asteraceae, native to Eastern and Central North America and naturalized in the Western part of the continent as well as in China. It has now been found in all 10 Canadian Provinces and all 48 of the states in the contiguous United States.[2][3][4]

Rudbeckia hirta is the state flower of Maryland.[5]


Rudbeckia hirta is an upright annual (sometimes biennial or perennial) growing 30–100 cm (12–39 in) tall by 30–45 cm (12–18 in) wide. It has alternate, mostly basal leaves 10–18 cm long, covered by coarse hair, with stout branching stems and daisy-like, composite flower heads appearing in late summer and early autumn. In the species, the flowers are up to 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, with yellow ray florets circling conspicuous brown or black, dome-shaped cone of many small disc florets.[6] However, extensive breeding has produced a range of sizes and colours, including oranges, reds and browns.[3][7]

Etymology and common names[edit]

The specific epithet hirta is Latin for “hairy”, and refers to the trichomes occurring on leaves and stems.[8] Other common names for this plant include: brown-eyed Susan, brown betty, gloriosa daisy, golden Jerusalem, English bull's eye, poor-land daisy, yellow daisy, and yellow ox-eye daisy.[9]


There are four varieties[10][3]


Rudbeckia hirta is widely cultivated in parks and gardens, for summer bedding schemes, borders, containers, wildflower gardens, prairie-style plantings and cut flowers. Numerous cultivars have been developed, of which 'Indian Summer'[11] and 'Toto'[12] have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[13] Other popular cultivars include 'Double Gold' and 'Marmalade'.

Gloriosa daisies are tetraploid cultivars having much larger flower heads than the wild species, often doubled or with contrasting markings on the ray florets. They were first bred by Alfred Blakeslee of Smith College by applying colchicine to R. hirta seeds; Blakeslee's stock was further developed by W. Atlee Burpee and introduced to commerce at the 1957 Philadelphia Flower Show.[14] Gloriosa daisies are generally treated as annuals or short-lived perennials and are typically grown from seed, though there are some named cultivars.

Symbolism and uses[edit]

Maryland state flower[edit]

Garden of black-eyed susans

The black-eyed Susan was designated the state flower of Maryland in 1918.[5][15] In this capacity it is used in gardens and ceremonies to celebrate, memorialize and show affection for the state of Maryland and its people. The Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland, has been termed "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" because a blanket of Viking Poms, a variety of chrysanthemums resembling black-eyed Susans, is traditionally placed around the winning horse's neck (actual black-eyed Susans are not in bloom in May during the Preakness).[16]

University of Southern Mississippi[edit]

In 1912, the black-eyed Susan became the inspiration for the University of Southern Mississippi school colors (black and gold), suggested by Florence Burrow Pope, a member of the university's first graduating class. According to Pope: “On a trip home, I saw great masses of Black-Eyed Susans in the pine forests. I decided to encourage my senior class to gather Black-Eyed Susans to spell out the name of the class on sheets to be displayed during exercises on Class Day. I then suggested black and gold as class colors, and my suggestion was adopted."[17]

Butterfly attractant for enhancing gardens[edit]

Butterflies are attracted to Rudbeckia hirta.[18] It is a larval host to the bordered patch, gorgone checkerspot, and silvery checkerspot species.[19]

Traditional Native American uses[edit]

The plant is thought to be an herbal medicine by Native American for various ailments.[20] The roots but not the seedheads of Rudbeckia hirta can be used much like the related Echinacea purpurea with unsubstantiated claims to boost immunity and fight colds, flu and infections. The Ojibwa people used it as a poultice for snake bites and to make an infusion for treating colds and worms in children.[21]


The species is toxic to cats when ingested.[22]



  1. ^ "Rudbeckia hirta L." Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Rudbeckia hirta". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Urbatsch, Lowell E.; Cox, Patricia B. (2006). "Rudbeckia hirta". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 21. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ Chen, Yousheng; Nicholas Hind, D. J. "Rudbeckia hirta". Flora of China. Vol. 20–21 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ a b "Maryland State Flower - Black-Eyed Susan". Maryland Manual Online. Maryland State Archives. September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "#766 Rudbeckia hirta". Floridata. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  7. ^ Brickell, Christopher (September 2008). RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  8. ^ "Native Meadow Wildflowers". Andy's Northern Ontario Wildflowers. Archived from the original on February 18, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  9. ^ Runkel, Sylvan T.; Roosa, Dean M. (1989). Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie: The Upper Midwest. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.
  10. ^ "Rudbeckia hirta". The Global Compositae Checklist (GCC) – via The Plant List. Note that this website has been superseded by World Flora Online
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer'". Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Rudbeckia hirta 'Toto'". Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  13. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 93. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  14. ^ Lacy, Allen (July 21, 1988). "Gloriosa, the Eliza Doolittle of Daisies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  15. ^ "Fiscal and Policy Notes (HB 345)" (PDF). Department of Legislative Services - Maryland General Assembly. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  16. ^ Reimer, Susan (May 16, 2014). "Neither Susans nor daisies". The Baltimore Sun.
  17. ^ The Drawl: The History and Traditions of the University of Southern Mississippi (PDF) (Centennial ed.). The University of Southern Mississippi. 2010. p. 10. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  18. ^ Schillo, Rebecca (2011). Cummings, Nina (ed.). "Native Landscaping Takes Root in Chicago". In the Field: 13.
  19. ^ The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.
  20. ^ Moerman, Daniel E. (August 15, 1998). Native American Ethnobotany. Oregon: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-453-9.
  21. ^ "Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)". Survival Plants of the Northeastern US. Brandeis University. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "List of plants toxic to cats".

External links[edit]