Rudbeckia laciniata (Cut-leaf Coneflower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Green-headed Coneflower, Tall Coneflower, Golden Glow
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist fields, woodland edges, along shores, floodplains, swamps, wet ditches
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 10 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
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: flat Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] 2 to 25 flower heads at the top of the plant, single at the tips of long stalks and the tips of branching stems. Flowers are 2 to 3 inches across with 6 to 12 droopy yellow petals (ray flowers). The center disk is ½ to ¾ inch across, initially a green, dome-shaped cone; when the tubular yellow disk flowers bloom it takes on a bulbous shape. The bracts surrounding the base of the flower are lance to egg-shaped, unequal in size, hairless to variously hairy. Flower stalks are mostly hairless except right below the flower head.

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

[photo of leaves] Basal and lower stem leaves are large, to 10 inches long and wide, deeply lobed in 3 to 7 segments, irregularly toothed, on stalks up to 4 inches long. Basal leaves often wither away by flowering time. Leaves become smaller and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem and those on the upper plant are typically stalkless, unlobed and may be toothless. Surfaces are hairless to sparsely hairy. Stems are single or multiple from the base, branched in the upper plant, hairless and typically have a waxy bloom. Plants can create colonies from long, spreading rhizomes.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

The center disk becomes a head of dry, brownish black, 4-sided seeds that lack a tuft of hair


The shape of the flower disk is similar to Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), which is easily distinguished by its shorter, notched rays, unlobed leaves, and leaf bases that extend down the stem. Also similar is Gray-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), which has large lobed leaves like Cut-leaf Coneflower, but the lobes are proportionately narrower, stems and leaves are hairy, the cone more oval and covered in dark brown-purplish disk flowers. There are currently 5 recognized varieties of R. laciniata: var. laciniata is the most common in North America and found in Minnesota, var. ampla with a taller, oval disk is found west of the Great Plains, and the other 3 are regional to a few states in the southern and eastern US. An R. laciniata cultivar with all ray and no disk flowers, known as Golden Glow, is popular in the nursery trade and may escape cultivation.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Minnesota Native Plant Society

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Hennepin counties, and in a private garden in Lino Lakes.


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

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale MN
on: 2010-08-12 20:52:48

Interesting how the petals take so long to develop. They just barely peek out of the green bud that forms, and VERY SLOWLY lenthen over 2-3 weeks, eventually popping out into a nice-sized droopy blossom.

Posted by: Dave - Saint Paul
on: 2011-08-10 19:03:04

We have them growing in our front yard, about 8 ft. tall - they partially block the view from our living room, but the flowers are so nice, and the winter seed heads such good food for the birds, that we don't mind. Dave

Posted by: Brian - St. Peter
on: 2013-08-24 19:37:34

There's an amazing display of these in the floodplain forest at Chamberlain Woods SNA in Le Sueur County right now. It's like a yellow coneflower version of the Milky Way (more or less...) - one area has a continuous thick strand of them, with the flowers held well above the leaves.

Posted by: Marie - Mpls
on: 2014-05-26 20:07:48

How do I distinguish a rudbeckia from a pigweed or maybe sneezeweed/ragweed? Every year I allow some really tall weeds to grow too long bc I don't want to eradicate black eyed susans or cone flowers. Thx for any suggestions

Posted by: Theresa - Duluth
on: 2015-08-24 16:48:01

This is THRIVING here. My plants are over 3 meters tall and covered in the double flowers. I can't keep it under control.

Posted by: Molly S - Fergus Falls
on: 2017-08-04 14:10:31

Blooming at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center right behind the cement sign and wooden bench by the flag pole :)

Posted by: Jonathan S - Edina
on: 2017-08-19 16:10:15

Growing in the lakeshore portion of my prairie patch, along with sneezeweed, lobelia and ironweed. Just reaching its peak, August 19, 2017, in a wet summer.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.


Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.