Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Black-eyed Susan

You don’t have to venture to natural habitats to find this week’s featured Iowa wildflower. Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is popular in gardens and urban landscaping, maybe even more so than the Virginia bluebells that bloom in the spring. During the summer, I see black-eyed Susans in neighbors’ front yards every day while walking the dog.

Black-eyed Susan is native to almost all of North America and can thrive in many different habitats. You probably already know what the plants look like; for a botanically accurate description of the foliage and flowerheads, see the Illinois Wildflowers website.

I took most of the pictures enclosed below along the Windsor Heights bike trail, in the area behind the Iowa Department of Natural Resources building on Hickman Road. I am reasonably confident that they are all black-eyed Susans, but some of the taller plants may be Brown-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba.

This post is also a mid-week open thread: all topics welcome.

A black-eyed Susan plant with buds:

black-eyed Susan with buds photo blackeyedsusanwithbuds_zpspidieok9.jpg

Black-eyed Susan with more flowers opening (the white flowers near the upper left corner are the non-native Queen Anne’ lace):

black-eyed Susan opening photo blackeyedsusanopening_zpsc7pmrlz4.jpg

Large group of black-eyed Susans:

black-eyed Susan large group photo blackeyedsusanlargegroup_zpsaovrdzah.jpg

Great blue lobelia, black-eyed Susans, and partridge pea:

blue lobelia, partridge pea photo bluelobeliablackeyedsusan_zpspatkgdc6.jpg

Black-eyed Susan peeking out from beneath a buffalo bur nightshade plant:

buffalo bur with black-eyed Susan photo buffaloburblackeyedsusan2_zpszlomkrpp.jpg

Black-eyed Susans intertwined with spotted bee balm:

Black-eyed Susan with spotted bee balm photo blackeyedsusanspottedbeebalm_zpsxvafu8cv.jpg

A couple of shots of black-eyed Susans blooming alongside blue vervain:

black-eyed Susan with blue vervain photo blackeyedsusanbluevervain2_zpst6kfxvzf.jpg

blue vervain with black-eyed Susan photo blackeyedsusanbluevervain_zpsxacna19k.jpg

Black-eyed Susans near the end of the blooming stage:

black-eyed Susan dying photo blackeyedsusandying_zpsrocqghsm.jpg

Urbandale parking lot landscaped with black-eyed Susans:

parking lot black-eyed susan photo parkinglotblackeyedsusan2_zpsz0gnbzde.jpg

Tags: Wildflowers
  • Nice photos!

    Black-eyed susans behave as pioneer species in prairie plantings — they appear in large numbers at first, and then drop back as more conservative long-lived prairie plants kick in. In original natural areas, they tend to pop up in tiny areas of disturbance. It’s always nice to see them.

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