brown-eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia triloba var. triloba)

Conservation Status
brown-eyed Susan
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

S3 - Vulnerable



Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Brown-eyed Susan is an erect, biennial or short-lived perennial forb that rises on one to several stems from rhizomes and shallow, fibrous roots. It can be 12 to 60 tall, though in Minnesota it is usually no more that 40 in height at maturity.

The stems are erect, green, and ridged. They are frequently branched above the middle, giving the plant a bushy appearance. They are sparsely to moderately covered with conspicuous, white hairs, especially toward the top. The hairs near the top of the stem are mostly spreading, those near the base mostly pointed downwards. The stems are sometimes hairless near the base. They are not covered with a whitish, waxy coating (glaucous).

Basal leaves are on long, mostly winged leaf stalks. The blades are 4 to 11¾ long, ¾ to 3 wide. They are egg-shaped to broadly egg-shaped in outline. They are tapered to slightly heart-shaped at the base. At least some of the larger leaves are usually deeply divided into 3 lobes. The lobes are egg-shaped or lance-shaped and are tapered to a sharply-pointed tip. The upper and lower surfaces are moderately covered with conspicuous, white, spreading hairs and with minute, yellow glands. They are slightly rough to the touch and are not glaucous. The margins are usually toothed with sharp, forward-pointing teeth.

Lower stem leaves are alternate, up to 8 long and 3 wide, and otherwise similar to basal leaves. Basal and lower stem leaves are often absent at flowering time. Stem leaves become smaller, less divided, and shorter-stalked as they ascend the stem. Middle and upper stem leaves are stalkless or on short, winged leaf stalks. Upper leaves sometimes clasp the stem. Middle and upper leaf blades are up to 4¾ long, up to 1¼ wide, narrowly lance-shaped, egg-shaped, or elliptic, rounded at the base, and tapered to a sharp point at the tip.

The inflorescence is a loose, open, branched cluster (panicle) of 10 to 30 flower at the end of the stem and branches. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucral bracts) are ¼ to ½ long, lance-shaped to linear, bent backward, and moderately hairy.

The flower heads are 1 to 1¾ in diameter. There are 8 to 15 yellow ray florets and 100 to 300 or more dark brownish-purple disk florets. The disk is 3 16 to in diameter and is in the shape of a flattened cone. The flowers are not fragrant.

The fruit is a dry, black, oblong, 4-angled, 1 16 to long cypsela with no fluffy tuft of hairs attached.




12 to 60


Flower Color


Yellow ray florets, brownish-purple disk florets


Similar Species




Wet to moderate moisture. Openings or lightly shaded areas in moist hardwood forests and floodplain forests, thickets, roadsides, and disturbed areas. Full or partial sun.




Early August to mid-September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Helianthodae  
  Tribe Heliantheae (sunflowers and allies)  
  Subtribe Rudbeckiinae (black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, and prairie coneflowers)  
  Genus Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans and coneflowers)  
  Section Rudbeckia  
  Species Rudbeckia triloba (brown-eyed Susan)  

Subordinate Taxa






Rudbeckia beadlei

Rudbeckia triloba var. beadlei


Common Names


browneyed Susan

brown-eyed Susan

thin-leaf coneflower

three-leaved coneflower

three-lobe coneflower

three-lobed coneflower













Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.



A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed from the wall of the inferior ovary and also from other tissues derived from the receptacle or hypanthium, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.


Winged leaf stalk

A leaf stalk with a leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides.

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    brown-eyed Susan   brown-eyed Susan  

Upper Stem Leaves

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Lower Lobed Leaves

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Flower Head

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Involucral Bracts

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Other Videos
  Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)

Uploaded on Aug 26, 2011 The Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbecka triloba) is a species which can grow in a wide range of soil types and makes a nice addition to any planting.




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