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Mr. Smarty Plants - Differences between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis

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Thursday - June 03, 2010

From: Nederland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Differences between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

How do you tell the difference between Ratibida columnifera and Ratibida peduncularis. On NPIN columnifera has red and penduncularis is solid yellow, but I have seen pictures listed as columnifera that are solid yellow.

ANSWER:

The flower color for the ray petals of both species can range from entirely yellow to entirely reddish-brown. The chief easily recognizable difference between Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) and Ratibida peduncularis (naked Mexicanhat), according to The Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas by Correll and Johnston, is that Ratibida columnifera (syn. Ratibida columnaris) has leaves all the way up the stem to right below the blossom and Ratibida peduncularis has the leaves concentrated at the base of the plant with the majority of the stem bare, thus its common name of 'naked Mexicanhat'. They do say that the plants may intergrade, however.  Rare Plants of Louisiana has a very good photo of R. peduncularis showing the leaves all occurring at the very bottom of its stalk.  You can see more detailed characteristics with flower and fruit size measurements that differ between the two from Flora of North American online (eFloras) and you can read the individual descriptions of R. columnifera and R. peduncularis from eFloras. This source also gives a reference that indicates that hybridization likely occurs among the species of this genus.


Ratibida columnifera

Ratibida columnifera

Ratibida peduncularis

 

 

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Bibliography

Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

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