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Ratibida pinnata (Vent.) Barnh.
Pinnate prairie coneflower, Grayhead Mexican hat, Yellow coneflower, Grayhead coneflower
USDA Symbol: rapi
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
A slender, hairy-stemmed plant bearing flower heads with drooping, yellow rays surrounding a roundish to ellipsoid, grayish central disk darkening to brown as rays drop off. Gray-head mexican-hat is a 3-5 ft. tall, summer perennial with a somewhat branched stem. One or several flowers, each on its own long stalk, may top a single stem. The yellow rays (petals) droop downward and are arranged around a grayish-brown cone. Lower leaves are long and divided into leaflets, while the upper leaves are smaller.
A similar species, Upright Prairie Coneflower (R. columnifera), is a shorter plant; its central disk is columnar, 2-4 1/2 times as long as thick. Because these species are palatable to livestock, the plants tend to diminish with heavy grazing of rangeland. When bruised, the central disk exudes an anise scent.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
AL , AR , CT , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MI , MN , MO , MS , NE , NY , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: ON Native Distribution:
W. PA & s. Ont. to MN, SD & NE, s. to GA, LA & OK Native Habitat:
Prairies; thickets; woodland edges USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Tolerant of a wide range of soils: sandy to clay and calcareous soils.
Conditions Comments: This tall, showy plant needs competition in small areas. tall stems may require support.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Birds, Butterflies
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationDescription: Dependably propagated from seed, which is produced abundantly. Sow unstratified seed in fall; stratified seed in spring. Clumps can also be divided.
Seed Collection: Seeds mature in autumn.
Seed Treatment: Moist stratification improves germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff