gray-headed coneflower

(Ratibida pinnata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

gray-headed coneflower

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Dry to wet. Prairies, woodland openings. Full sun.

Flowering

June to August

     
Flower Color

Yellow ray florets, light green or gray head, dark brown disk florets

     
Height

16 to 48

     

Identification

This is an erect, 16 to 48 tall, perennial forb that rises on a single stem or 2 to 12 or more stems from fibrous roots and either a woody, underground, storage organ (caudex), or often a short, stout, horizontal, underground stem (rhizome). It sometimes appears clustered.

A single stem or 2 to 12 or more stems rises from a rosette of basal leaves. The stem is erect, rough to the touch, and branched only above the middle. It has several longitudinal ridges. It is moderately to densely covered with coarse, short, straight, stiff, ascending, usually appressed hairs. It is sometimes hairless near the base. It also has scattered, minute, stalkless, yellow glands.

Basal and lower stem leaves are lance-shaped to egg-shaped, inversely lance-shaped to inversely egg-shaped, or oblong in outline, up to 16 long, and up to 6 wide. They are on long leaf stalks. Each leaf is either deeply lobed (pinnatifid) with 3 to 9 narrow lobes cut nearly to the midvein or pinnately divided into 3 to 9 narrow leaflets. The leaflets on pinnate leaves are often toothed and shallowly or deeply lobed. The ultimate lobes and undivided leaflets are narrowly lance-shaped to egg-shaped, up to 6 long, and up to 1 wide. They have 1 or 3 main, parallel veins. The upper and lower surfaces are rough to the touch. They are moderately to densely covered with short, straight, stiff, sharp, appressed to more or less spreading hairs. They are also dotted with scattered, minute, stalkless or impressed, yellow glands. The margins are usually untoothed. The leaves become smaller, shorter stalked, and less divided as they ascend the stem. Upper stem leaves are stalkless and often undivided and lance-shaped.

The inflorescence is a single, showy flower head at the end of each stem and branch. Most plants have 1 to 12 flower heads. The flower heads are held well above the leaves. Each flower head is at the end if a leafless, prominently ribbed, 1¼ to 10½ long stalk (peduncle).

The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucre) is narrowly saucer-shaped, more or less round with a shallow depth. It is composed of 10 to 15 bracts (phyllaries) in 2 overlapping series. The outer phyllaries are linear, to long, and 1 32 to wide. The inner phyllaries are narrowly egg-shaped, to ¼ long, and 1 64 to wide.

The flower head has 6 to 15 ray florets and 100 to 200 or more disk florets. The ray florets are yellow, linear ellipse-shaped to oblong inversely egg-shaped, 13 16 to 2 long, and 3 16 to wide. They droop downward at the base of the receptacle. The receptacle is usually oblong or egg-shaped, sometimes nearly globe-shaped, to 1 long, and to ¾ wide. It is covered with disk florets. The disk florets are 1 16 to wide and greenish-yellow, sometimes purple tinged toward the tip.

The fruit is a dry, one-seeded, 1 16 to long seed capsule (cypsela). The tip of the cypsela is flattened and has no hairs but often 1 or 2 tooth-like projections.

 
Similar
Species

Long-headed coneflower (Ratibida columnifera) is usually shorter, no more than 24 in height. The ray florets are shorter, no more than 1 long. The disk is column-shaped and much longer, up to 2 long.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 5, 7.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Asteraceae (aster)

 

Subfamily:

Asteroideae

 

Supertribe:

Helianthodae

 

Tribe:

Heliantheae (sunflower)

 
Synonyms

Lepachys pinnata

Rudbeckia pinnata

 
Common
Names

drooping prairie-coneflower

globular coneflower

grayhead prairieconeflower

gray-head prairie-coneflower

gray-headed coneflower

pinnate prairie coneflower

pinnate-leaf prairie-coneflower

prairie coneflower

yellow coneflower


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

bract

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

 

caudex

A short, thickened, woody, persistent enlargement of the stem, at or below ground level, used for water storage.

 

cypsela

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.

 

involucre

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

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

phyllary

An individual bract within the involucre of a plant in the Asteraceae family.

 

pinnate

Having the leaflets of a compound leaf arranged on opposite sides of a common stalk.

 

pinnatifid

Deeply cut, more than half way to the midrib but not to the midrib, into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib; the lobes do not form separate leaflets.

 

receptacle

The thickened, upper part of a flower stalk to which flowers or flower parts are attached. In composite flowers, the part on which the flowers are borne. In accessory fruits the receptacle gives rise to the edible part of the fruit.

 

rhizome

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

       

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Flower Head

  gray-headed coneflower   gray-headed coneflower
       

Flower Heads

  gray-headed coneflower   gray-headed coneflower
       

Leaves

  gray-headed coneflower   gray-headed coneflower
       

Stem

  gray-headed coneflower   gray-headed coneflower
       

Winter

  gray-headed coneflower    
       
       

 

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Slideshows

   
  Rudbeckia laciniata (Tall Coneflower)
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  Rudbeckia laciniata (Tall Coneflower)  
     
  Ratibida pinnata YELLOW CONEFLOWER
Frank Mayfield
 
  Ratibida pinnata YELLOW CONEFLOWER  

 

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Other Videos

 
  Minnesota Native Plant - Grey-Headed Coneflower (Ratibida Pinnata)
MNNativePlants
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 13, 2013

Todays plant is a tall prairie plant, the Grey-Headed Coneflower (Ratibida Pinnata).

 
     
  Yellow Coneflower - Ratibida pinnata blooming at Ion Exchange
Ionxchange
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 1, 2011

Earthyman views Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) in full bloom at Ion Exchange in Northeast Iowa http://www.ionxchange.com

 
     
  Gray headed Coneflower
manywolves11
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 3, 2009

A sunny reminder of a wonderful afternoon, with a very special person, my beloved husband.

 
     

 

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