Rudbeckia hirta

Rudbeckia hirta

"Brown Betty" redirects here. For the pastry dish, see Cobbler (food).

Rudbeckia hirta (common names: Black-eyed Susan, Blackiehead, Brown Betty, Brown Daisy, Brown-eyed Susan, Gloriosa Daisy, Golden Jerusalem, Poorland Daisy, Yellow Daisy, Yellow Ox-eye Daisy) is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is an upright annual (sometimes biennial or perennial) native to most of North America, and is one of a number of plants with the common name Black-eyed Susan that also has purple on the side.

The plant can reach a height of 1-2 m. It has alternate, mostly basal leaves 20-75 cm long, covered by coarse hair. It flowers from June to August, with inflorescences measuring 10-15 cm in diameter (up to 30 cm in some cultivars), with yellow ray florets circling a brown, domed center of disc florets.

There are four varieties:

  • Rudbeckia hirta var. angustifolia. Southeastern United States (South Carolina to Texas).
  • Rudbeckia hirta var. floridana. Florida, endemic.
  • Rudbeckia hirta var. hirta. Northeastern United States (Maine to Alabama).
  • Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima. Widespread in most of North America (Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to Alabama and New Mexico; naturalized Washington to California).

Symbolism and uses

Black-eyed Susan was designated the state Floral Emblem of Maryland in 1918.

Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden planting; some popular ones include 'Double Gold', 'Indian Summer', and 'Marmalade'.

The roots but not seedheads of Rudbeckia hirta can be used much like the related Echinacea purpurea. It is an astringent used as in a warm infusion as a wash for sores and swellings. The Ojibwa used it as a poultice for snake bites and to make an infusion for treating colds and worms in children. The plant is diuretic and was used by the Menominee and Potawatomi. Juice from the roots had been used as drops for earaches.

The plant contains anthocyanins.

References

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