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 more flowers opening (the white flowers near the upper left corner are the non-native Queen Anne' lace):
Large group of black-eyed Susans:
Great blue lobelia, black-eyed Susans, and partridge pea:
Black-eyed Susan peeking out from beneath a buffalo bur nightshade plant:
Black-eyed Susans intertwined with spotted bee balm:
A couple of shots of black-eyed Susans blooming alongside blue vervain:
Black-eyed Susans near the end of the blooming stage:
Urbandale parking lot landscaped with black-eyed Susans:
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.