Black-eyed susan

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Rudbeckia hirta L.

Common name(s): black-eyed susan, brown-eyed susan, black-eyed coneflower, brown betty, gloriosa daisy, yellow ox-eye daisy

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile , NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– annual/biennial/short-lived perennial

– generally flowers June through August in ME

Stems 1′ to 3′ tall, stems bristly, erect, with few branches.  Leaves at base lance-shaped, on upper stem narrow.  Flower heads at end of long stalks, 2″-4″ wide, orange-yellow.  Center of flower head a mass of purplish-brown minute flowers.  Seed about 1/8″ long.

-Also known as rudbeckias and coneflowers, there are about 30 species of these popular native wildflowers

– two varieties in New England, the rare native var. hirta and common introduced var. pulcherrima; see Go Botany webpage


-most species enjoy moist, well drained, fertile soils

-partial shade or full sun

-pioneer plants

  • first plants to grow in an area damaged by fire

-often Diseased by powdery mildew and rust


-Eaten by slugs, snails, aphids, deer, and other small mammals.

-host to the Silvery Checkerspot butterfly caterpillar



Haines, A., Farnsworth, E., Morrison, G., & New England Wild Flower Society. (2011). New England Wildflower Society’s Flora Novae Angliae: A manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Framingham, MA: New England Wild Flower Society. p. 425.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.

Krochmal, C. (2009). Black-eyed susans. Bee Culture, 137(7), 47.

Department of Agriculture and the environmnetal sciences, The Ohio State University., The Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association,