Linnaeus first descriped Rudbeckia laciniata in Species Plantarum in 1753. In 1884, Asa Gray described variety humilis in Synoptical Flora of North America, and var. heterophylla was added by M.L. Fernald and B.G. Schubert in Rhodora in 1948. Shortly thereafter, Cronquist described var. ampla in Vascular Plants of the Northwest, in 1955. Finally, Robert E. Perdue, Jr. added the last variety, var. bipinnata, in an article in Rhodora in 1962. Thus, the five varieties of R. laciniata are ampla, the Rocky Mountain cutleaf coneflower, bipinnata, the Northeastern cutleaf coneflower, humilis, the Southeastern cutleaf coneflower, heterophylla, the Florida coneflower, and laciniata.
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Rudbeckia laciniata can be found throughout most of the U.S., excluding the Northwest, and the southern reaches of Canada. Var. ampla grows west of the Great Plains and in British Columbia, and var. laciniata can be found everywhere east of ampla's range. The other varieties have very small, localized distributions. Var. bipinnata grows from Maryland and Pennsylvania up through New England, except for Maine and Vermont. Var. humilis grows from Virginia south to Georgia and west to Alabama and Tennessee, and var. heterophylla grows only in Levy County, Florida. (Urbatsch & Cox, 2006.)
For more information, see the map provided by Flora of North America.
Key taken from Flora of North America. (Urbatsch & Cox, 2006.)
1. Receptacles ovoid; discs (17-)20-30 mm; w of Great Plains…………………
……………………………………………7a. Rudbeckia laciniata var. ampla
1. Receptacles globose or hemispheric; discs 10-20 mm; Great Plains and e United
2. Basal and proximal cauline leaves not lobed, adaxial faces moderately to
densely hairy; Levy County, Florida………………………………………
………………………………….7d. Rudbeckia laciniata var. heterophylla
2. Basal and proximal cauline leaves lobed, adaxial leaf faces sparsely hairy or
Glabrous; e North America (not Levy County, Florida).
3. Proximal leaves usually with 0, 3, or 5 lobes; se United States………….
……………………………………...7c. Rudbeckia laciniata var. digitata
3. Proximal leaves usually 1-2-pinnatifid or with 5-11 lobes; e North America
(not se United States).
4. Proximal cauline leaves 2-pinnatifid, mid cauline leaves 5-11 lobed;
paleae 3.1-4.1 mm; cypselae 3.5-4 mm; pappi 0.7-1.5 mm……………
………………………………….7b. Rudbeckia laciniata var. bipinnata
4. Proximal cauline leaves pinnatifid, mid cauline leaves 5-9 lobed; paleae
4.4-6.1 mm; cypselae 4.2-6 mm; pappi 0.1-0.7 mm…………………….
…………………………………7e. Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata
"Perennials, 50–300 cm (rhizomes often elongate, slender, plants colonial, roots fibrous). Leaves green, blades broadly ovate to lanceolate, all but distalmost 1–2-pinnatifid or pinnately compound, leaflets/lobes 3–11, bases cuneate to attenuate or cordate, margins entire or dentate, apices acute to acuminate, faces glabrous or hairy (sometimes with translucent patches); basal (often withering before flowering) petiolate, 15–50 × 10–25 cm; cauline petiolate or sessile, mostly lobed to pinnatifid, sometimes not lobed, 8–40 × 3–20 cm. Heads (2–25) in loose, corymbiform arrays. Phyllaries to 2 cm (8–15, ovate to lanceolate, margins mostly ciliate, glabrous or hairy). Receptacles hemispheric or ovoid to globose; paleae 3–7 mm, apices (at least of proximal) truncate or rounded, abaxial tips densely hairy. Ray florets 8–12; laminae elliptic to oblanceolate, 15–50 × 4–14 mm, abaxially hairy. Discs 9–30 × 10–23 mm. Disc florets 150–300+; corollas yellow to yellowish green (lobes yellow), 3.5–5 mm; style branches 1–1.5 mm, apices acute to rounded. Cypselae 3–4.5 mm; pappi coroniform or of 4 scales, to 1.5 mm."
Range and Habitat in Illinois
Wet habitats along streams and woods
Flower-Visiting Insects of Cut-Leaved Coneflower in Illinois
(Bees collect pollen or suck nectar; flies feed on pollen or suck nectar; other insects suck nectar; some observations are from Graenicher and Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise they are from Robertson)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp fq (Rb, Gr); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus centralis sn (Gr), Bombus fraternus sn, Bombus griseocallis sn cp (Rb, Gr), Bombus impatiens sn, Bombus penyslvanica sn (Rb, Gr), Bombus ternarius sn (Gr), Bombus vagans sn cp (Gr), Psithyrus variabilis sn (Rb, Gr); Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn (Rb, Gr), Ceratina calcarata sn; Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Epeolus autumnalis sn fq, Triepeolus donatus sn (Rb, Gr), Triepeolus pectoralis sn fq; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Melissodes agilis sn (Gr), Melissodes coloradensis sn, Melissodes dentiventris sn, Melissodes rustica sn fq, Melissodes trinodis sn cp fq (Rb, Gr), Svastra obliqua obliqua sn cp; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile centuncularis sn (Gr), Megachile latimanus sn cp (Gr), Megachile petulans sn cp; Megachilidae (Trypetini): Heriades leavitti sn
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella striata sn (Gr), Halictus confusus sn (Gr), Halictus ligatus sn cp fq, Halictus rubicunda (MH), Lasioglossum coriaceus sn (Gr), Lasioglossum forbesii sn cp (Gr), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn; Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes compactus sn cp fq; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena aliciae sn cp fq (Rb, Gr), Andrena helianthi (Kr); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Heterosarus albitarsis sn cp, Heterosarus labrosiformis labrosiformis sn cp fq, Heterosarus rudbeckiae sn cp fq olg, Pseudopanurgus rugosus sn
Sphecidae (Bembicinae): Bembix americana (Rb, Gr); Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila kennedyi (Rb, Gr), Ammophila nigricans, Eremnophila aureonotata, Sphex pensylvanica (Gr); Scoliidae: Scolia bicincta
Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua (Gr), Eristalis dimidiatus sn (Rb, Gr), Eristalis transversus sn (Rb, Gr), Syritta pipiens (Gr), Syrphus ribesii fp np, Toxomerus geminatus (Gr); Empidae: Empis clausa sn fq; Milichiidae: Eusiphona mira (Gr); Bombyliidae: Exoprosopa decora sn (Rb, Gr), Exoprosopa fasciata sn, Exoprosopa fascipennis (Gr), Poecilanthrax halcyon (Gr), Poecilognathus punctipennis (Gr), Sparnopolius confusus sn, Systoechus vulgaris sn, Villa alternata sn; Conopidae: Zodion fulvifrons sn; Calliphoridae: Lucilia illustris (Gr); Muscidae: Stomoxys calcitrans (Gr); Tachinidae: Archytas aterrima sn, Spallanzania hesperidarum sn, Tachinomyia panaetius sn fq (Rb, Gr); Sarcophagidae: Sphixapata trilineata sn
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis, Danaus plexippus (Gr), Limenitis arthemis astyanax (Gr), Phyciodes tharos (Gr), Speyeria cybele (Gr), Vanessa virginiensis; Lycaenidae: Celastrina argiolus
Hesperiidae: Poanes hobomok pocohantas (Gr), Polites themistocles
Noctuidae: Feltia jaculifera (Gr), Mythimna unipuncta (Gr); Sesiidae: Cisseps fulvicollis
amphigenous colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia asteris causes spots on live leaf of Rudbeckia laciniata
Rudbeckia laciniata plays host to the aphid Uroleucon rudbeckiae. (Service, 1984.) Its nectar and pollen attract a variety of bees, wasps, moths and butterflies. Its leaves are a foodsource for certain caterpillars, but the vegetation may be poisionous to mammalian herbivores. Finches may eat seeds.
Diseases and Parasites
Life History and Behavior
Vars. ampla, bipinnata, humilis and laciniata begin flowering in the summertime, but var. heterophylla can start to produce flowers in the spring. Flowering of all varieties continues into the fall. (Urbatsch & Cox, 2006.)
Rudbeckia laciniata has a rapid growth rate and can reach heights over 9 feet.
Physiology and Cell Biology
Although there are no known morphological differences between Ozone-sensitive and insensitive types, the stomatal response is significantly lower in sensitive plants. (Grulke, Neufeld, Davison, Roberts & Chappelka, 2006).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rudbeckia laciniata
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Rudbeckia laciniata is listed as a threatened species by the state of Rhode Island. (USDA, 2010.)
Ozone has deleterious effects on R. laciniata. (Chappelka, Neufeld, Davison, Somers and Renfro, 2003.)
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
First and foremost, Rudbeckia laciniata and its cultivars are grown as ornamentals. The leaves of young plants have been harvested and used as greens in salads.
Although poisoning is unlikely, this plant has caused poison by ingestion in the past, specifically in cattle and swine. As a precaution, it is recommended to suppress its growth in grazing areas.
It is an herbaceous perennial growing up to 3 m (10 ft) tall, with slightly glaucous leaves, and composite flowers in late summer and autumn (fall). The disc flowers are green to yellowish green, while the rays are pale yellow.
Common names include cutleaf, cutleaf coneflower, goldenglow, green-headed coneflower, tall coneflower and thimbleweed (note that several other plant species are also known as thimbleweed).
R. laciniata is widely cultivated in gardens and for cut flowers. Numerous cultivars have been developed, of which 'Herbstsonne' ("Autumn sun") has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Traditionally, the young leaves have been gathered from the wild and eaten in the early spring. They are greatly favored as a potherb (cooked). Though some references state the use of this plant as salad greens (raw), traditional use is as cooked greens. This is assumed to be done to remove toxins. However, there is little evidence of their presence. One report cites circumstantial evidence of poisoning to horses, sheep and pigs.
- Rudbeckia laciniata at USDA PLANTS Database
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne'". Retrieved 2 June 2013.
- Banks, William. 2004. Plants of the Cherokee. Great Smoky Mts. Assn.: Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
- Hamel, Paul; Chiltoskey, Mary U. (1975). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva Herald Publishing.
- Witthoft, John (1977). "Cherokee Indian Use of Potherbs". Journal of Cherokee Studies 2 (2): 251.
- Kingsbury, J.M. (1964). Poisonous Plants of the United States and Canada. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.
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