Growth Form:Forb/herb; plants upright (erect); one or many stems; lower and middle leafy, upper plant branching; stems with fine, stiff, straight hairs or bristles, glandular.
Leaves: Green; leaves long, to 6 inches (15 cm), pinnately divided with linear and lobed divisions; herbage from translucent oil gland-dotted; leaves arranged alternately along stem.
Flower Color: Yellow, dark red, purplish-yellow, brown-purple and maroon; flower heads shaped like a sombrero, containing both ray and diskflorets; flowers on tall leafless stems (peduncles); fruit is a cypsela with a tan pappus.
Flowering Season: June to November
Elevation: 5,000 to 7,500 feet (1,524-2,286 m)
Habitat Preferences: Prairies throughout much of its range, sunny open areas in pine forests, dry rocky slopes, plains, roadsides and disturbed areas.
Recorded Range: Throughout the United States, Canada and northern Mexico. In Arizona it is found in the north and eastern part of the state and in Santa Cruz County.
Genus Information: In North America there are 4 species and 6 accepted taxa overall for Ratibida columnifera Worldwide, The Plant List includes 7 accepted species names and a further 18 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Ratibida.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and New Mexico each have 2 species of Ratibida, California and Utah each have 1 species, Nevada has 0 species and Texas has 3 species of Ratibida columnifera. Data approximate and subject to revision.
Comments: Upright Prairie Coneflower has large attractive multi colored flowers and is commonly cultivated as ornamentals. They are popular landscape plants for both homeowner use and by state highway departments for roadside restoration and beautification projects.
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida columnifera brightly colored Daisy-like flowers, and their seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar, shelter and protection through cover. Upright Prairie Coneflower was important in the diet of White-tailed Deer in Texas; and the seeds of Upright Prairie Coneflower were eaten by Wild Turkeys in South Dakota.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida columnifera large brightly colored Daisy-like flowers, and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths, native bees and other insects in search of nectar and/or other food. Included here Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies and Nectar-insects.
Special Value to Native Bees
According to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Upright Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida columnifera is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of Native bees. Click here for more information on their Pollinator Conservation Program.
U.S. Forest Service; Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)
See the U.S. Forest Service online collection of reviews of the scientific literature for management considerations of Ratibida columnifera, here .
The genus “Ratibida” (Rati'bida:) a name used by Mr. C.S. Rafinesque. According to Michael L. Charters, publisher of California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations. A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology (http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/index.html) a Mr. David Hollombe sent Mr. Charters the following information: "Rafinesque's brief description in a paper in 'Journal de physique, de chimie et d'histoire naturelle et des arts' in 1819 mentions the rays as being bifid, although that explanation does not account for the 't'." Rafinesque often assigned unexplained names to plants. It is curious that about 60 sites online use the spelling Ratidiba rather than Ratibida.
The species epithet “columnifera” (columnif'era:) bearing columns, in reference to the tall cylindrical flower heads.
Upright Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida columnifera is used for a multitude of purposes by U. S. North American indigenous peoples.
Cheyenne Drug, Analgesic, Dermatological Aids, Snake Bite Remedy's; Decoction of leaves and stems used as wash for pain and Decoction of leaves and stems used for poison ivy rash and Decoction of leaves and stems used as wash to draw out poison of a rattlesnake's bite and Leaves and stems boiled and solution used for rattlesnake bites.
Dakota Drug, Analgesic, Dermatological Aid, Panacea, Beverage; Flowers used for chest pains and other ailments and Flowers used for wounds and Flowers used for chest pains and other ailments and Leaves used to make a hot, tea like beverage.
Keres, Western Drug, Gynecological Aid; Crushed leaves rubbed on mothers' breast to wean child.
Lakota Drug, Analgesic; Infusion of plant tops taken for headaches.
Lakota Drug, Gastrointestinal Aid; Infusion of plant tops taken for stomachaches.
Lakota Drug, Veterinary Aid; Plant given to horses for urinary problems.
Lakota Other, Cooking Tools; Plant top used as a nipple.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Febrifuge; Cold infusion used for fever.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Veterinary Aid; Cold infusion given to sheep which are 'out of their minds.'
Oglala Food, Beverage; Leaves and cylindrical heads used to make a tea like beverage.
Zuni Drug, Emetic; Infusion of whole plant taken as an emetic.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.