Rudbeckia, also known as Black Eyed Susan, is a genus of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family. There are over 25 species of Rudbeckia, which are native to various regions of North America. The plants are known for their flowers, which have a characteristic dark center surrounded by bright yellow or orange petals. They can be used as a border plant, in mixed borders, or in wildflower meadows. Rudbeckia also makes excellent cut flowers and can be used in floral arrangements. Many cultivars of Rudbeckia have been developed over the years, offering a wide range of flower colors, sizes, and shapes.
Rudbeckia plants are mostly herbaceous perennials, meaning they die in winter and re-emerge in the spring. They have hairy, rough-textured leaves that grow in a basal rosette, and their flowers form on tall, branched stems that can reach up to three feet in height. Rudbeckia plants are easy to grow and can be grown in different soil types. They require full sun to partial shade and are drought-tolerant once established.
One of the most popular species of Rudbeckia is Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as black-eyed Susan. This species is native to North America and is often used in wildflower meadows, cottage gardens, and as a cut flower. It produces a profusion of bright yellow or orange flowers with a characteristic dark center from mid-summer to early fall.
Rudbeckia is also an important plant for wildlife, providing nectar for butterflies and other pollinators. The plants are also attractive to birds, who feed on the seeds in the fall and winter. Some species, such as Rudbeckia laciniata, are also essential host plants for the caterpillars of various moth species.
In addition to their ornamental value, some species of Rudbeckia have also been used for medicinal purposes. Native Americans used Rudbeckia hirta to treat various ailments, including colds, flu, and snake bites. It was also used as a poultice for wounds and sores.