black-eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima)

Conservation Status
black-eyed Susan
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Black-eyed Susan is a 12 to 36 tall, erect, biennial or short-lived perennial forb that rises on one to several stems usually from a taproot, sometimes from only fibrous roots.

The stems are erect, usually branched mostly above the middle, ridged, and sparsely to densely covered with short, spreading to ascending hairs. They are not glaucous.

Stem leaves are alternate. Basal and lower stem leaves are on long, winged leaf stalks. They are inversely lance-shaped, tapered or angled at the base, and rounded or tapered to a blunt point at the tip. They are 2 to 11¾ long, ¼ to 1¼ wide, 3 to 5 times as long as wide. The upper and lower surfaces are sparsely to moderately hairy with spreading to loosely ascending hairs. They are usually rough to the touch and are not glaucous. The margins are usually untoothed but sometimes have widely spaced, fine, sharp, forward-pointing teeth. Basal and lower stem leaves are sometimes present at flowering.

Middle and upper stem leaves are stalkless or on short, winged leaf stalks. They are lance-shaped, egg-shaped, or elliptic, the uppermost almost linear, rounded or squared at the base, and rounded or tapered to a blunt point at the tip. They are ¾ to 8 long, and to 1½ wide. The upper leaves are clasp the stem at the base. The upper and lower surfaces are sparsely to moderately hairy with spreading to loosely ascending hairs. They are usually rough to the touch and are not glaucous. The margins are usually untoothed but sometimes have widely spaced, fine, sharp, forward-pointing teeth.

The inflorescence is a single flower head at the end of each stem and branch. Each flower head is on a hairy stalk that is up to of the plant height. The bracts at the base of the flower head are lance-shaped to linear, moderately to densely hairy, with moderate to dense spreading hairs on the margins.

The flower heads are 2 to 3 wide. There are 8 to 21 yellow ray florets and numerous brown disk florets. The disk is in the shape of a flattened cone. The flower heads are not fragrant.

The fruit is a dry, black, oblong, 4-angled, 1 16 to long cypsela with no fluffy tuft of hairs attached.




12 to 36


Flower Color


Yellow ray florets, brown disk florets


Similar Species


Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba var. triloba) is a bushy plant with smaller flower heads. The flower heads have no more than 15 ray florets. At least some of the larger leaves are 3- lobed. Basal and lower stem leaves are often absent at flowering time.


Dry to wet. Prairies, forest openings, roadsides, disturbed areas. Full to partial sun.




June to October


Pests and Diseases




Black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Helianthodae  
  Tribe Heliantheae (sunflowers and allies)  
  Subtribe Rudbeckiinae (black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and prairie coneflowers)  
  Genus Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans and coneflowers)  
  Section Rudbeckia  
  Species Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan)  

Subordinate Taxa






Rudbeckia hirta var. corymbifera

Rudbeckia hirta var. lanceolata

Rudbeckia hirta var. sericea

Rudbeckia hirta var. serotina

Rudbeckia longipes

Rudbeckia sericea

Rudbeckia serotina

Rudbeckia serotina var. corymbifera

Rudbeckia serotina var. lanceolata

Rudbeckia serotina var. sericea


Common Names


black-eyed Susan

blackeyed Susan














Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.



A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed from the wall of the inferior ovary and also from other tissues derived from the receptacle or hypanthium, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.


Winged leaf stalk

A leaf stalk with a leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides.

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Nancy Falkum

    black-eyed Susan      

Wayne Rasmussen

    black-eyed Susan      


    black-eyed Susan   black-eyed Susan  
    black-eyed Susan      

Flower Head

    black-eyed Susan   black-eyed Susan  
    black-eyed Susan      


    black-eyed Susan   black-eyed Susan  


    black-eyed Susan   black-eyed Susan  



  Rudbechia hirta
Susanne Wiik
  Rudbechia hirta  


  Black Eyed Susan
  Black Eyed Susan  

Copyright DianesDigitals

  Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)  
  Rudbeckia hirta BLACK-EYED SUSAN
Frank Mayfield
  Rudbeckia hirta BLACK-EYED SUSAN  



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Minnesota Native Plant - Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta var. Pulcherrima)

Published on Jul 15, 2013

This video shows the common Minnesota native plant, Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta var. Pulcherrima). A beautiful native that is commonly used in native and non-native plantings.

  Sweet Blackeyed Susan - Rudbeckia subtomentosa blooming at Ion Exchange

Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011

Earthyman views Sweet Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa) blooming at Ion Exchange in Northeast Iowa in July

  Rudbeckia flower time lapse Carol's
Neil Bromhall

Uploaded on Sep 2, 2009

Time-lapse Rudbeckia flower.
Filmed by Neil Bromhall for




Visitor Sightings

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  Nancy Falkum

Location: Weaver Dunes Preserve, Cox Unit

black-eyed Susan  
  Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

black-eyed Susan  

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Big Stone Lake State Park

Blaine Preserve SNA

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Buffalo River State Park

Bunker Hills Regional Park

Butterwort Cliffs SNA

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Carver Park Reserve

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Crow Wing State Park

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Dry Sand WMA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Falls Creek SNA

Felton Prairie SNA, Shrike Unit

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Franconia Bluffs SNA

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Glacial Lakes State Park

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Hayes Lake State Park

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

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Jensen Memorial WMA

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

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Keller Regional Park

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Alexander Woods SNA, South Unit

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Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

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Old Mill State Park

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Oronoco Prairie SNA

Ottawa Bluffs Preserve

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Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

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Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

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Quarry Park SNA

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake Savanna SNA

Rice Lake State Park

River Terrace Prairie SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Roscoe Prairie SNA

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

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Savage Fen SNA

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Spring Lake Park Reserve

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Springbrook Nature Center

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Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

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