Black-eyed Susan commonly grows in pastures, old fields, railroads, roadsides, and open, disturbed areas. This is the most abundant rudbeckia in Missouri and the one that prospers best in disturbed habitats.
In the 1970s, researchers explored the different patterns of reflected ultraviolet light in the corollas of this and other rudbeckias. Although UV light is invisible to humans, bees and some other insects can see it, and the special patterns in the flowers serve especially to attract them.
Black-eyed Susan flowerheads are solitary or in loose, open clusters, terminal on the stalk, and grow to 4 inches across. The 8–21 ray flowers are rich yellow or orangish and slender. The central disk is deep brown to purple-brown and hemispherical, becoming egg-shaped with maturity.
Brown-eyed Susan is a bushy perennial with much-branching stems and plenty of flowerheads. Compared to Missouri’s other Rudbeckia species, its flowerheads are the smallest, growing to only about one inch across.
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