long-headed coneflower

(Ratibida columnifera)

Conservation Status
long-headed coneflower
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N3N5 - Vulnerable to Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Long-headed coneflower is an erect, perennial forb that rises on a solitary stem or, more commonly, multiple stems from a taproot. It can be 12 to 40 tall but usually reaches no more than 24 in height.

The stems are erect, unbranched or occasionally branched above the middle, grooved, hairy, and rough to the touch.

The leaves are alternate, spreading, ¾ to 6 long, and 5 16 to 2 wide. Lower leaves are on leaf stalks up to 2 long, upper leaves are stalkless. The leaf blades are deeply divided into 3 to 15 lobes (pinnatifid) which may be again divided into lobes (bipinnatifid). The ultimate lobes are narrowly linear lance-shaped or narrowly oblong egg-shaped, up to 2 long, and 1 32 to wide. They have 1 inconspicuous vein and may be pointed or blunt at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are covered with short, appressed, stiff hairs and are dotted with glands. The margins are untoothed.

The inflorescence is a single, 2 to 3 long flower head at the end of each stem and branch. A single, multi-stemmed plant may have up to 15 flower heads. The flower heads are held well above the leaves on prominently ribbed stalks that may be 2½ to 10 long or more.

Each flower head is composed of 4 to 12, usually 6, ray florets and a central disk with 200 to 400 or more disk florets. The ray florets are yellow, lance egg-shaped to elliptic inversely egg-shaped, ¼ to 1 long, and to wide. They droop downward at the base of the receptacle. The receptacle is shaped like a column, to 2 long, and ¼ to ½ wide. The disk florets are 1 32 to 3 32 wide with greenish-yellow corollas that are purplish-tinged toward the tip.

The fruit is a dark purple achene.




12 to 40


Flower Color


Yellow ray florets.


Similar Species




Dry. Prairies, pastures, roadsides, railroads. Full sun.




June to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 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 Ratibida (coneflowers)  

Subordinate Taxa


Some plants have maroon or purplish ray florets. These are more common in the southwestern states. Some authorities treat this as a separate variety or form, var. pulcherrima or f. pulcherrima.




Ratibida columnaris

Rudbeckia columnifera


Common Names


longhead prairie coneflower

long-headed coneflower

Mexican hat

upright coneflower

upright prairie coneflower










Twice pinnatifid. Cut deeply into lobes with each lobe also cut into deep lobes.



Thin, dry scales or bracts; the bracts on the receptacle of the flower head of some Asteraceae.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



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.



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.

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    long-headed coneflower   long-headed coneflower  


    long-headed coneflower   long-headed coneflower  

Flower Head

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  Ratibida columnifera
Susanne Wiik
  Ratibida columnifera  



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Other Videos
  Ratibida columifera - Präriesonnenhut

Published on Jul 21, 2012

No description available.

  Ratibida columnifera conservation

Uploaded on Jul 28, 2011

Susan describes the conservation benefits of 'Stillwater' upright prairie coneflower, Ratibida columnifera, a perennial wildflower native to North America with conservation applications. For more information on Ratibida, log onto the Plants database or contact jim.jacobs@mt.usda.gov.




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