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

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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.

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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.

Posted by: Debbie - Santiago
on: 2018-06-20 07:52:57

Transplanted these from Minneapolis and after 3 weeks the bunnies got them last night! I was surprised! Didn’t think bunnies liked them....

Posted by: Sue Hintz - I planted them in Stevens Point, WI
on: 2018-06-29 10:57:57

I thought I bought a Rudbeckia because I wanted the plant to cover cement sewer covers in the front of our lawn. I think I am growing something way higher than me! Last year, there were yellow flowers that lasted a very long time. the flowers were heavy and the plant leaned over the tanks and did a great job covering...this year I feel I am growing a beanstalk! Can this plant be trimmed and made bushy?

Posted by: Richard Mammel - Albert Lea
on: 2019-07-28 17:20:39

I was given one unidentified plant several years ago by a woman at her annual yard sale, telling me it was her "mystery plant" (actually a Cut-Leaf Coneflower, Golden Glow variety) From it I have two enormous patches of them and give many away each spring with other perennials of mine to encourage more folks to garden. They are prolific, the flower heads looking much like Dahlias, in all growing to at least six and more feet in height. We love them as do the birds and butterflies.

Posted by: Lonnie - Burntside Lake near Ely
on: 2019-09-01 16:32:44

Fabulous late summer perennial. Always asked about.

Posted by: Michelle - Brooklyn Park
on: 2020-08-01 20:20:59

Last year these appeared in my garden, I thought they were weeds and tore them all out. This year they came back with a vengeance, so I let them grow, today I learned that they are cut leaf coneflower. They are now about 9 to 6 feet tall. The bees love them. Funny thing is I’ve planted everything in my garden, for 6 yrs. Still don’t know how they ended up in such a perfect patch, inside it? It’s full sun, and not overly watered. So much for moist conditions? But I do enjoy the privacy & beauty they add.

Posted by: Linda V - Coon Rapids
on: 2021-06-08 19:00:11

Planted a Golden Glow two years ago. Amazed at the speed of growth! Prolific bloomer the first year with no issues. Last year a storm knocked the stems over. If I prune them now, in June, to keep it shorter, will I be removing all the flowers for this year? I love them but too tall.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-06-08 19:27:46

Linda, if there are no buds on it yet it should still bloom later in summer.

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