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Prairie coneflower; Mexican hat

Ratibida columnifera


"Prairie coneflower is a native, late-season, herbaceous perennial in the Aster Family. It usually has a taproot and grows upright from a woody base to a height of 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm). The numerous, pinnate leaves are deeply cut into linear or lance-shaped segments along alternately branched stems. Showy yellow ray flowers droop and surround the columnar-shaped, brown, central disk. Occasionally, the ray flowers are reddish-brown in color. The flowers tend to bloom from late June until August, with seed ripening completed in early August to September. The mature seedhead has a pleasant odor when crushed that is similar to anise or licorice. The fruit is a 1-seeded, gray-black achene." source USDA/NRCS plant fact sheet (see notes)


"Prairie coneflower is a native, drought-tolerant wildflower of the Great Plains that is commonly found from south central Canada to northern Mexico, and west from Manitoba and Minnesota to southeastern Idaho. It prefers to grow in the dry, open spaces of prairie grasslands and mountain foothills and is found along roadsides, in waste and disturbed areas, and along railroad rights-of-way. Prairie coneflower does well on a variety of soil types, including loams and rocky to gravelly-sandy textures. It tolerates a pH range from slightly acidic to moderately alkaline and weak saline soils, in areas receiving 10 to 30 inches (254 to 762 mm) of annual precipitation. Prairie coneflower attains optimum growth in full sun and low to moderate levels of competition within a native plant community." source USDA/NRCS plant fact sheet (see notes)


Prairie coneflower has two different color variations; one is a dark rust-red, the other a bright yellow. Sometimes a gradation between the two is seen. Source of description and habitat: USDA/NRCS plant fact sheet PRAIRIE CONEFLOWER

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Lee C.
Spotted by
Lee C.

Estes Park, Colorado, USA

Spotted on Sep 2, 2007
Submitted on Jul 9, 2012

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