Rudbeckia triloba (Brown-eyed Susan)

Plant Info
Also known as: Three-lobed Coneflower
Genus:Rudbeckia
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual, short-lived perennial
Origin:native
Status:
  • State Special Concern
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist soil; low woods, thickets, disturbed soil
Bloom season:July - October
Plant height:1 to 5 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flowers are deep golden yellow, daisy-like, 1 to 2 inches across, held in widely branched open clusters. Flowers have 6 to 13 rays (petals) that are oval to round, with several small notches at the tips. The center disk is dark purple brown, round to almost conical.

[photo of bracts] Behind the flower are hairy bracts, typically 8 in number, of unequal size, spreading back away from the flower.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, ½ to 2 inches wide, dark green, thin and rough on both surfaces, covered in bristly hairs to varying degrees. Lower leaves are largest, stalked and often three-lobed; upper leaves and bracts are smaller, lance elliptic, sharply pointed with fine teeth or smooth edges. Stems are bristly hairy and usually reddish-green. Mature plants take on a bushy appearance from many branching stems.

Notes:

While a Minnesota species of special concern in the wild from loss of habitat to agriculture and invasive species, Brown-eyed Susan flourishes in gardens across the state. One of the best cut flowers around it can last for weeks in a kitchen vase. While the flowers may be similar to Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), though smaller, the leaves and overall plant structure make them easy to distinguish.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden in Anoka County..

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Pat - Meeker Co.
on: 2012-04-07 20:14:16

Found a small plant growing near my shoreline on Lake Stella, in not very good soil. I collected seeds and germinated them the next year and planted out in my wildflower garden. Then forgot about them. The following year I had the most spectacular 'black eyed susan' ever. About four feet tall, this plant had hundreds of blooms for about two months. Absolutely Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Posted by: Laurie - minneapolis
on: 2014-07-04 09:02:11

My brown eyed susan plants have no leaves on the flowers just the center part of the flower, same with my coneflowers. What coud be happening and what can I do to fix it? Thanks Laurie

Posted by: Linda - Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan MN
on: 2015-08-29 02:40:17

There are large patches of three-lobed coneflower on many trails in Lebanon Hills Park. Today I was admiring 15' long patches on both sides of the trail just northwest of marker #36 by the little creek. Very pretty in the late afternoon sunshine.

Posted by: Lynn - Rice county
on: 2016-08-01 10:36:05

I planted a few of these from a friend many years ago. They have spread from there to many places on our property. They are beautiful and bloom from late summer into the fall. I let them go to seed and leave them wherever they stand.

Posted by: Shelley - Hayland Twp, Mille Lacs County
on: 2017-04-13 15:03:16

Though not documented in my county, they have been popping up here and there in undeveloped areas at our place throughout the 40 years we have lived here.

Posted by: Sandy A - Rochester
on: 2017-08-29 11:40:41

All of a sudden started growing in my garden. I didn't plant it. I am pretty sure I also have black-eyed Susans in another part of my garden which I didn't plant. Then I have a cluster of Heliopsis that I did plant. I inherited my (huge) flower gardens (three sides of my property) when I bought my house ten years ago. I had never gardened before, so I may not be totally accurate on things. But I Googled these three and also looked in a flower identification book, so I think I am right.

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