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Marcus, Joseph A.
Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Woot. & Standl.
Mexican hat, Prairie coneflower, Upright prairie coneflower, Red-spike mexican-hat, Long-headed coneflower, Thimbleflower
Synonym(s): Lepachys columnaris, Lepachys columnifera, Ratibida columnaris, Ratibida columnaris var. pulcherrima, Rudbeckia columnaris, Rudbeckia columnifera
USDA Symbol: RACO3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A plant branched and leafy in lower part with long leafless stalks bearing flower heads of 3-7 yellow or yellow and red-brown, drooping rays surrounding a long, red-brown central disk. Its sombrero-shaped flower heads, is usually 1 1/2 ft. tall but can reach 3 ft. Flower petals range from dark red and yellow, to all red or all yellow. The flowers central brown disk protrudes 1/2 to 2 in. above the drooping petals. Leaves on the lower portion of the stem are feathery and deeply cleft.
The colorful flower heads, resembling the traditional broad-brimmed, high-centered hat worn during Mexican fiestas, often bloom by the thousands. Green Prairie Coneflower (R. tagetes) has a spherical or oblong central disk and leaves closer to the flower head.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Root Type: Tap Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf:
Flowers 2 inches
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange , Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Late spring through July; often into August and September if moisture is available.
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
S.e. B.C. to AZ
& Mex., e. to WI, IL, MO, AR, OK
& TX; naturalized eastward Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry , Moist Soil pH:
Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2) CaCO3 Tolerance:
Low Drought Tolerance:
High Soil Description:
Various well-drained, usually calcareous soils. Also Limestone-based, Caliche type, Clay, Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy. Conditions Comments:
This is a drought tolerant plant that withstands competition. Plants with rich, brown-purple ray
flowers are form pulcherima. Mexican Hat is a fast growing wildflower that is not fussy about soils and is easy to grow from seed. Showy flowers bloom over a long season. Foliage has a strong odor that repels deer. CAUTION: it grows aggressively and may push out other weaker species.
Color, Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Wildflower meadow, Perennial
garden, Rocky hillside, Patio pot plant Use Wildlife:
Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies, Nectar-insects, Seeds-Granivorous birds, Deer will eat this flower Use Food:
Beverage tea from leaves. (Kindscher) Use Medicinal:
Tea from leaves and stalks used for stomach ache and pain in side. Tea from flower
used for headache. Boiled leaves and stems used as wash for snakebite and poison ivy. (Kindscher) Conspicuous Flowers:
Very easy to propagate from seed in spring or fall though a fall seeding is recommended. Seeds do not have to be treated but may benefit from a period of stratification. Plants from seed usually bloom the second year. Be sure the seed is in good contact with the soil by lightly raking it into loose topsoil. Seeding rate is two to four pounds per acre. There are approximately 1,230,000 seeds per pound. Seed Collection:
Seed is available commercially or can be collected in late summer. Collect seed from several plants to increase the spectrum of color. If possible, collect seed from plants with solid yellow ray
petals to contrast with plants with reddish-brown ray
plants. Seed Treatment:
Stratify at 40 degrees for 9 weeks. Commercially Avail:
Supplemental watering may be required if the winter and spring are unusually dry. Watering in summer often extends the flowering period. After flowering ceases, allow seed to completely mature (let cones become dry and brown) before mowing for reseeding or collecting seed to plant in another area.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Fredericksburg Nature Center
- Fredericksburg, TXLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TXBrackenridge Field Laboratory
- Austin, TXPatsy Glenn Refuge
- Wimberley, TXNueces River Authority
- Uvalde, TXStengl Biological Research Station
- Smithville, TXTexas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TXNational Butterfly Center
- Mission, TXNative Seed Network
- Corvallis, ORJacob's Well Natural Area
- Wimberley, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0078
Collected Oct. 19, 1990 in Bexar County by Mollie WaltonNPSOT 0180
Collected May 15, 1991 in Bexar County by Judith C. BerryNPSOT 0432A
Collected May 5, 1993 in Bexar County by Cecil MayoNPSOT 0432B
Collected May 5, 1993 in Bexar County by Cecil MayoNPSOT 0238
Collected June 9, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0359
Collected May 5, 1993 in Bexar County by Cecil MayoNPSOT 0379
Collected May 12, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-511
Collected 2007-06-27 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower CenterLBJWC-38
Collected 2006-06-18 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store
Bibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie :
an ethnobotanical guide
(1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes
(2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest
(1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region
(2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide
(1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife
(1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas
(2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country
(1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter1984 VOL. 1, NO.1
- asdasdWildflower Newsletter1986 VOL. 3, NO.4
- Fall Highlights Busy Season at the Center, Wildflower Days Welcome the Holidays,...Wildflower Newsletter1987 VOL. 4, NO.4
- Wildflower Center Sows Seeds for the Country, Hotline for Texas, New Goals Plans...Wildflower Newsletter1990 VOL. 7, NO.4
- Research Update, Wild-Collecting Endangers Natives, Director's Report, Maryland ...Wildflower Newsletter1991 VOL. 8, NO.2
- Wildflower Outlook, Photography Seminars Offered, Ten Favorite Wildflower Areas,...
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-08
Research By: NPIS, ADA