black-eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima)

Conservation Status

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

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.









Plantae (green algae and land plants)


Viridiplantae (green plants)


Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)


Embryophyta (land plants)


Tracheophyta (vascular plants)


Spermatophytina (seed plants)


Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)




Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)






Heliantheae (sunflowers and allies)


Rudbeckiinae (black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and prairie coneflowers)


Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans and coneflowers)




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

eastern black-eyed 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.

Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree

goldenrod crab spider  


Crab Spider Twin Valley Prairie SNA...  


Nancy Falkum

black-eyed Susan    

Wayne Rasmussen

black-eyed Susan Photos
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





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



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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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Dan W. Andree

Location: Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Crab Spider Twin Valley Prairie SNA...

goldenrod crab spider
Nancy Falkum

Location: Weaver Dunes Preserve, Cox Unit

black-eyed Susan
Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

black-eyed Susan Sightings

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