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Pinnate Prairie Coneflower, Yellow Coneflower, Grayhead Coneflower - Ratibida pinnata


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Prairie Coneflower Native Status: NativeDicot Perennial Herb
Ratibida pinnata - Pinnate Prairie Coneflower, Yellow Coneflower, Grayhead Coneflower. Ratibida is a genus of 4 species. Ratibida pinnata is found in prairies, along the borders of woodlands where full sun is available, and in forest openings and limestone outcrops which also receive much sun. The example here was photographed along a roadside.

Distribution is from the prairie states eastward except for a few of the eastern seaboard states, south into a couple of northern Florida counties, although distribution in the east and south is pretty sporadic.

Synonym: Rudbeckia pinnata - The relationship to the Rudbeckia species, such as Rudbeckia laciniata, is clear, and Pinnate Prairie Coneflower has been classified in Rudbeckia in the past.

Found in:
AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV

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Ratibida pinnata

Distribution of Ratibida pinnata in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 14 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Echo Trail, St. Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The blossom of Ratibida pinnata has 3 (rarely) to more than 15 yellow ray flowers. The central disk is globular or ovoid, with up to 400 or more florets. These fertile disk florets are frequently purple as in this photo.
Ratibida pinnata

Site: Echo Trail, St Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The ovoid central disk may be an inch high, above yellow ray florets which may each be over 2 inches long. The central disk florets can range from yellowish-green to dark purple. They may appear gray before flowering - probably the source of the “Grayhead Coneflower” common name sometimes applied to Ratibida pinnata.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ratibida pinnata

Site: Echo Trail, St Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
Ratibida pinnata grows to over 4 feet high, and normally will have fewer than 12 flower heads per plant. While this photo appears to show many more flowering heads, if you look closely you can see the stems of 3 plants in this cluster.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ratibida pinnata

Site: Echo Trail, St Louis County, MN Date: 2012-September-09Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Ratibida pinnata are deeply, pinnately lobed.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Ratibida pinnata

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer