PlantsRatibida→Gray-Headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Gray-Headed Coneflower
Give a thumbs up Grayhead Coneflower
Give a thumbs up Yellow Coneflower
Give a thumbs up Grey-Head Coneflower
Give a thumbs up Grayhead Mexican Hat
Give a thumbs up Pinnate Prairie Coneflower

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

In the meadow.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Feb 19, 2018 5:07 PM

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.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 7:37 AM

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.

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Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Jan 15, 2012 1:44 PM

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.

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Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on May 25, 2013 12:30 AM

"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:

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Posted by Chillybean (Iowa - Zone 5a) on Dec 11, 2015 5:21 PM

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.

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Plant Events from our members
MrsBinWY On July 4, 2020 Transplanted
3 into back yard behind the big iron pot
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
Chillybean On December 11, 2015 Harvested
Collected seeds
» 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
2020 Chicagoland Annual Plant Swap by pitimpinai Jun 10, 2020 12:11 PM 157
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Banner for November 30, 2013 by 4susiesjoy by 4susiesjoy Dec 1, 2013 5:54 PM 9
Good sources for perennials by SongofJoy Nov 17, 2013 7:31 PM 419

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