General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9b
Plant Height: 12 - 48 inches
Plant Spread: 12 - 24 inches
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Fall
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Uses: Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

Common names
  • Gray-Headed Coneflower
  • Grey-Head Coneflower
  • Pinnate Prairie Coneflower
  • Grayhead Mexican Hat
  • Yellow Coneflower
  • Grayhead Coneflower

Photo Gallery
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 2017-07-09
Location: Northeastern Indiana - Zone 5b
Date: 2010-07-09
In the meadow.
Location: Southeastern Iowa
Date: 2012-07-02
Along the Mississippi River
Location: Our Prairie to be, near Central Iowa
Date: 2015-12-11
A bird's help
Location: Tennessee
courtesy Sunlight Gardens,
Location: Woodbridge , Va
Date: 2017-07-03

US Fish and Wildlife Service photo
Location: Brownstown PA 17508
Date: 2020-07-09
Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5b
Date: 2013-07-22

Courtesy of Diane's Flower Seeds
Location: My garden, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; zone 3.
Date: 2012-12-09
Location: Northeastern Indiana - Zone 5b
Date: 2010-07-09
Young Bloom

Courtesy Outsidepride
  • Uploaded by vic

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield

Photo courtesy of: Tom Potterfield
Location: Quad Cities Botanical Garden, Rock Island, Il.
Date: 7-1-12
Location: my garden zone 7b NC
Date: 2012-05-25
plant in bud
Location: Our Prairie to be, near Central Iowa
Date: 2015-12-11
Location: IL
Date: 2011-07-16
Location: Hamilton Square Garden, Historic City Cemetery, Sacramento CA.
Date: 2016-06-04
Zone 9b.
Location: Brownstown PA 17508
Date: 2020-07-09
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 7/16/2014
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2011-04-26
Location: Indiana Dunes State Park headquarters
Date: 2016-07-16
group in bloom in naturalistic landscape
Location: Indiana Dunes State Park headquarters
Date: 2016-07-16
close-up of group in bloom
Location: Fermilab, Batavia, Illinois
Date: 2016-07-19
plant in prairie restoration

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: My Garden
Date: 2013-08-09
This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 19, 2018 5:07 PM concerning plant:
    I not only see this lovely perennial in some prairie or meadow restorations or naturalistic landscapes, but also in some conventional gardens, as it is sold by a good number of both native plant and conventional nurseries. This species has 5 to 10 yellow ray flowers around the disc flowers in the composite inflorescence that droop down. In nature it grows in dry or mesic soils from southern Ontario down to Georgia, Arkansas to Oklahoma. It should have an anise-scented odor when the foliage is bruised. Easy to grow, low maintenance.
  • Posted by Chillybean (Iowa - Zone 5a) on Dec 11, 2015 5:21 PM concerning plant:
    This was one of my surprises this summer, blooming outside of the border of our prairie to be. I am not a fan of yellow composite flowers, but the overall shape of the flower with its droopy petals does make this flower stand out among the rest. Besides Gray-headed Coneflower and Yellow Coneflower as common names, the lesser-known Weary Susan more aptly describes this plant and does not confuse any into thinking this to be an Echinacea species.

    This plant is native to the United States, but I like this plant moreso because it's a food source for the birds. It was the birds that helped me find the seeds when I did not think they would be easy to harvest.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 7:37 AM concerning plant:
    The Gray Headed Coneflower is a plant of dry, thin woods, roadsides, and prairies of the south central states. These perennials grow two to four feet tall and have clumps of deeply cleft leaves. Flowering occurs in early to mid summer. The daisy-like flowers have five to ten bright yellow drooping ray flowers (petals) about one to two inches long. The cone or center of the flower is grayish-green and becomes darker and taller with age eventually looking like an inch tall thimble. This plant is easy to grow in dry or wet soils in full sun. Good for a meadow.
  • Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on May 25, 2013 12:30 AM concerning plant:
    "Ratibida pinnata is a species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common names pinnate prairie coneflower, gray-head coneflower, yellow coneflower, and prairie coneflower. It is native to the central and eastern United States and Ontario in Canada.

    This species is a perennial herb which can well exceed one meter in height. It has fibrous roots and rhizomes or woody caudices. The rough-haired, glandular leaves are up to 40 centimeters long and are divided into several large lance-shaped or oval lobes. The inflorescences are tall, generally far above the highest leaves. Each flower head contains up to 15 yellow ray florets up to 6 centimeters long. The center of the flower is globular or oval in shape and measures up to 2.5 centimeters long. It is covered in up to 200 or more disc florets which are yellow-green to purplish in color. The disc heads have a scent reminiscent of anise when crushed.

    This plant grows in prairies, on the margins of woods, and on roadsides. It can grow in moist or dry habitat. It is hardy and not easily outcompeted by other plants.

    This plant is grown as an ornamental garden plant. It is attractive to butterflies and birds"

    Taken from wikipedia's page at:
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Jan 15, 2012 1:44 PM concerning plant:
    A common wildflower in the northern two thirds of Illinois growing up to 5' tall. Preferred habitats are prairies and savannas.
    Common name based on observation that prior to opening, the small disk flowers are ashy grey. They turn brown as flower opens.
    Crushed seed heads have anise scent.
    North American Indians made a tea from flower cones and leaves. Root was used to cure toothaches by the Mesquakie tribe.
Plant Events from our members
Chillybean On December 11, 2015 Harvested
Collected seeds
MrsBinWY On July 4, 2020 Transplanted
3 into back yard behind the big iron pot; 1 returned in 2021
MrsBinWY On June 5, 2020 Seeds germinated
MrsBinWY On January 1, 2020 Seeds sown
16 seeds from janinilulu's 2019G in milk jug - try a couple weeks warm & put outside if no activity. Moved outside on 2-2-20.
MrsBinWY On June 10, 2018 Potted up
3 pots w/2 in each pot - all appear to be struggling
MrsBinWY On February 25, 2018 Seeds sown
milk jug; back patio; 25 seeds from molanic
MrsBinWY On July 8, 2017 Potted up
3 - seem to be struggling in the milk jug (too dry/too wet?) (All eventually failed. Try again.)
MrsBinWY On March 10, 2017 Seeds sown
coffee filter in baggie in fridge for 30 days, little bit of H2O2, 16 seeds from molanic; jugged 4-15-17
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
How a Bird Helped Me by Chillybean Dec 11, 2015 12:50 PM 0

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