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.
The cap of a black-footed polypore convex to funnel-shaped. The underside has pores that are tiny, circular (sometimes with angles), and whitish to tannish. The stalk is off-center and tough, has equal sides, and is blackish; its texture is smooth.
The black-footed polypore grows on wood. When mature, it has a wavy, reddish-brown cap that is darker towards the stem; the texture is dry, smooth, tough, and leathery. The stalk is black, smooth, and off-center.
The black-footed polypore grows on wood. It has a wavy cap that is reddish to brownish, becoming darker with age; the texture is dry, smooth, tough, and leathery. The stalk is black, smooth, and off-center.
Young black-footed polypores look surprisingly different from mature ones. As you’re learning about mushrooms, collect what you think are the same species more than once to get an accurate identification.
This fungus grows in large circular clusters, on the ground around stumps of living deciduous trees, especially oaks. It feeds off of dead or dying trees, decomposing them and returning nutrients to the soil—an unglamorous but vital role in the ecosystem.
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