Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yellow coneflower
Ratibida pinnata

Grows in moist to slightly dry black soil prairies, clay prairies, thickets, woodland borders, limestone glades, and areas along railroads, particularly where remnant prairies occur. Yellow Coneflower tends to colonize the more disturbed areas of these habitats

It tends to grow rather tall and flop in gardens unless cut back a couple of times in early summer. I have not yet had to perform this duty as the rabbits and their young do an admirable job of munching the tender new growth to various heights. Then seem to move on in time for the flowers to form and flower. Later in the season if a storm makes ratty looking just clip most away leaving a few that look good still for late flowers and seeds. It will return.

I have a spot where the yellow cone flowers have been mixed in amid the tall straight grass and tall large flowered sunflowers. In another place they are mixed with liatris and asters.
The bloom period is very long allowing a mix with several other plants over the summer and early fall. The flowers sway on long delicate stems in each passing breeze. An interesting sight even before the flowers open full as the native bees will hang on sipping oozing nectar already drawing pollinators. The bees are so tame while so engaged that I have often picked the bees up and held them. The little yellow faced native bees are most often found in this state.

Other bees, include Epeoline Cuckoo bees, large Leaf-Cutting bees, Green Metallic bees, and other Halictine bees.
Other insect visitors include wasps, flies, small butterflies, and beetles.
The bees also collect pollen and some beetles feed on pollen. The caterpillars of the butterfly Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) feeds on the foliage, as well as the caterpillars of the moths Eynchlora acida (Wavy-Lined Emerald) and Eupithecia miserulata (Common Eupithecia).
Gold Finches occasionally eat the seeds, rabbits, groundhogs and livestock will eat foliage and flowering stems.


Blogger firefly said...

Wow -- that is a beautiful plant. I added some purple coneflower last summer, and was going to ignore the yellow forms because I thought they were all hybridized, but I'll be looking to add this in spring.

I collected some aster seeds from a roadside clump, so I'll try interplanting the two!

3/1/07 12:51 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Asters and yellow coneflower together look good although by the time aster blooms the coneflowers are slowing down.Try adding a few liatris to bloom with the early heavy flowering and/or a strong upright grass like panicum/switchgrass.

This yellow coneflower is in the same family as Mexican hat/Ratibida columnaris, but is a much larger flower and taller overall.

Ratibida pinnata/yellow (or sometimes called grey coneflower for the cones color before the flower petals emerge)has much prettier foliage and a nice habit of swaying in the breezes on long stems.Fits in nice with upright grass.

There is a native yellow Echinacea called paradoxa sometimes confused with Ratibida pinnata that is native to mid north america. It is were the hybrids came from.

5/1/07 2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that's an awesome plant. I'm going to have to look for this one this spring. Where do you shop for your plants in the city? I imagine you go out to the burbs because I haven't found much variety in the city.

8/1/07 12:18 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Mr Brownthumb,You are right about not shopping for native plants in the city. This particular plant came from a spring wildflower plant sale at Gibson woods in Hammond Indiana.The next one will be April 14 2007. A group called the Wild Ones Indiana chapter grows the plants and sells them. I bought the yellow coneflower,spotted Joe-Pye weed, wild lupine perennis, and a wild penstemon. There are several native plant nursuries online. Have you Checked out Art and Linda's Wildflowers in Cicero?
or Northwind Perennial Farm in Wisconsin? I start a lot of plants from seed.

8/1/07 4:20 PM  

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