Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Brown-eyed Susan

A surprising number of wildflowers are still blooming in central Iowa, thanks to unseasonably warm weather for most of the autumn, with no hard frosts yet. This week’s featured plant is brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba), which is native to most of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Although it’s not a rare plant, black-eyed Susan is much more prevalent.

The Illinois Wildflowers website explains, “Brown-Eyed Susan can be distinguished from similar species by the smaller size of its flowerheads and the smaller number of ray florets per flowerhead. It is usually more tall and bushy than Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susan), but it is shorter with fewer lobed leaves than Rudbeckia laciniata (Cutleaf Coneflower).” Iowa wildflower Wednesday profiled cutleaf coneflower here and black-eyed Susan earlier this fall.

The Minnesota Wildflowers website notes, “While a Minnesota species of special concern in the wild from loss of habitat to agriculture and invasive species, Brown-eyed Susan flourishes in gardens across the state. One of the best cut flowers around it can last for weeks in a kitchen vase.” Gardeners may appreciate that this plant “attracts numerous nectar-seeking and pollen-seeking insects to its flowers.”

I took all of the photographs enclosed below just off the Windsor Heights bike trail, behind the Iowa Department of Natural Resources building on Hickman Road. Whoever is maintaining this restored patch of native plants is doing a fantastic job. So many native species are thriving, including some wildflowers that are rare in Iowa, and I’ve hardly seen any invasive plants there all year.

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

For those wanting a botanically accurate description of brown-eyed Susan foliage and flowerheads, I recommend either the Illinois Wildflowers or the Minnesota Wildflowers websites. Here’s a close view of brown-eyed Susan flowerheads.

closer look at Brown-eyed Susans photo browneyedsusanclose3_zps3yp0kkpw.jpg

Large group of brown-eyed Susans.

large group of Brown-eyed Susans photo browneyedsusangroup_zps1kvqpwec.jpg

Another large group of brown-eyed Susans. Some kind of boneset–possibly late boneset–is blooming in the background (small white flowers).

Brown-eyed Susans with boneset photo browneyedsusanboneset_zpsi3zczvoi.jpg

Brown-eyed Susans with a few common evening primrose flowers (the lighter yellow near the center of the frame). I think the plant with small white flowers in the upper right corner is late boneset.

Brown-eyed Susans with evening primrose photo browneyedsusanprimrose3_zpsj5xzyhc1.jpg

More brown-eyed Susans in bloom with late boneset in the background.

Brown-eyed Susans with others photo browneyedsusanclose2_zpsd7u2trv9.jpg

Brown-eyed Susans to the left; some kind of white aster is blooming near the lower right corner. Some black-eyed Susans are in the right half of this shot.

Brown-eyed Susan and asters photo browneyedsusanaster_zpsmjmwc81d.jpg

This brown-eyed Susan plant is in the process of dying, but some flowerheads are still in full bloom.

Brown-eyed Susans dying photo browneyedsusandying2_zps17upirw5.jpg

I took this picture this morning; would not have expected to see so many flowerheads on a brown-eyed Susan plant in early November.

Brown-eyed Susans in November photo browneyedsusansNovember2_zpsp6vauraz.jpg

Tags: Wildflowers

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