Rudbeckia fulgida was first described by William Aiton in 1789 in Hortus Kewensis, or, A catalogue of the plants cultivated in the Royal Botanical Garden at Kew. In 1945, Arthur Cronquist recognized four varieties of Rudbeckia including var. sullivantii, var. umbrosa, var. fulgida and var. missourriensis in Volume 47 of Rhodora. Then in 1957, Robert Perdue, Jr., contributed a new scheme to Rhodora excluding var. missourriensis but adding four more varieties including vars. deamii, speciosa, palustris, and spathulata.