Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Rudbeckia laciniata, Cutleaf Coneflower

Cutleaf Coneflower, so called because the center of the flower looks like a pine cone as shown in the photo. Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf Coneflower has large showy daisy-like flowers that attract many pollinators and its seeds attract seed eating birds. Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf Coneflower has green, showy leaves that are deeply pinnately divided into sever lobes. Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf Coneflower blooms from July and August well into September and October. Plants prefer elevations ranging from 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,524-2,743 m). Rudbeckia laciniata Cutleaf Coneflower is typically found in a variety of habitats that include higher elevations, sunny or light shade areas, rich moist soils, wetlands and along streams. Rudbeckia laciniata

Scientific Name: Rudbeckia laciniata
Common Name: Cutleaf Coneflower

Also Called: Cutleaf, Goldenglow, Green-headed Coneflower, Tall Coneflower, Thimbleweed, Wild Goldenglow

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Rudbeckia laciniata var. gaspereauensis, Rudbeckia laciniata var. hortensis)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial from rhizomes.

Size: 6 to 8 feet ( m) Up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall not uncommon.

Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; plants upright (erect); colonial; mostly hairless (glabrous), branching along upper stems; large sunflower like flowers; plants colonial from rhizomes in moist areas.

Leaves: Dark green, showy; leaves ovate to lanceolate; alternate; deeply pinnately divided into several lobes; leaf edges or margins variable, from entire to dentate.

Flower Color: Yellow, showy large sun-flower-type heads; 2 inches (5 cm) or more across, flowering heads in branching clusters of 2 to 25; flower heads with both ray and disk florets, the ray florets are yellow while the disk florets are yellowish-green; fruit is a cypsela.

Flowering Season: July and August to September and October

Elevation: 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,524-2,743 m)

Habitat Preferences: Higher elevations, sunny or light shade areas, rich moist soils, wetlands and along streams.

Recorded Range: Throughout most of North America; absent in CA, NV, OR.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Rudbeckia laciniata.

North America species range map for Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata:

North America species range map for Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata: Click image for full size map.
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown

Wetland Indicator: Rudbeckia laciniata has the following wetland designations:

  • Arid West, FAC
  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FACW;
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, FACW;
  • Great Plains, FAC;
  • Midwest, FACW;
  • Northcentral & Northeast, FACW;
  • Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FAC;

  • FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands
    FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands

    Threatened/Endangered Information:The State of Rhode Island has listed Rudbeckia laciniata, Green-headed Coneflower as a Threatened species.

    Genus Information: 22 species in Rudbeckia throughout the United States and Canada. 5 varieties in Rudbeckia laciniata, 2 varieties in Arizona; Rudbeckia laciniata var. ampla, Cutleaf Coneflower and Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata, also Cutleaf Coneflower. Genus Information: In North America there are 22 species and 41 accepted taxa overall for Rudbeckia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 25 accepted species names and a further 53 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Rudbeckia.

    The genus Rudbeckia was published in 1753 by Linnaeus, Carl, (1707-1778).

    In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 1 species of Rudbeckia, California has 5 species, Nevada has 1 species, New Mexico has 4 species, Texas has 11 species, Utah has 5 species. Data approximate and subject to revision.

    There are 5 varieties in Rudbeckia;
    Rudbeckia laciniata var. ampla, (AZ, CO, ID, MT, ND, NM, SD, UT, WY; BC);
    Rudbeckia laciniata var. bipinnata, (MA, MD, NH, NY, PA);
    Rudbeckia laciniata var. digitata, (AL, FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, NJ, TN, SC, VA);
    Rudbeckia laciniata var. heterophylla, (FL);
    Rudbeckia laciniata var. laciniata, (US, absent in CA, NV, OR, UT; MB, ON, QC).

    Comments: Cutleaf Coneflower responds well to summer rains in Arizona. It is common throughout the United States and Canada and is cultivated in home landscaping and by state highway departments for roadside restoration and beautification projects. In cool wet habitats, because of prolific rhizome spread, Cutleaf Coneflower should only be planted in very large landscape areas.

    May be confused with Upright Prairie Coneflower, Ratibida columnifera.

    Cutleaf Coneflower is considered poisonous to livestock, a factor which often leads to "weed" designation status.

    Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
    Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata 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. Cutleaf Coneflower readily attracts birds and was important in the diet of White-tailed Deer in Texas; and the seeds of Cutleaf Coneflower were eaten by Wild Turkeys in South Dakota; American Goldfinches eat the seeds.

    Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
    Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata large brightly colored Daisy-like flowers, and their plants may be visited by butterflies including Monarch Butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, native bees and other insects in search of nectar and/or other food. Included here are Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies and Nectar-insects.

    Special Value to Native Bees
    According to The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Cutleaf Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata is recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of Native bees. Click here for more information on their Pollinator Conservation Program.

    The genus “Rudbeckia” (Rudbeck'ia:) named for Swedish professor of botany and advisor and mentor of Carl Linnaeus, Olaus (Olof), Olai, Rudbeck, (1660-1740), (Rudbeck the Younger); and for his father Olaus (Olof) Johannis Rudbeck (1630-1702), (Rudbeck the Elder).

    The genus Rudbeckia was published in 1753 by Linnaeus, Carl, (1707-1778).

    The species epithet laciniata (lacinia'ta:) torn or deeply cut, referring to the fringed petals and/or leaves.

    Rudbeckia laciniata is used for food and medical purposes North American indigenous peoples.
  • Cherokee Drug, Dietary Aid; Cooked spring salad eaten to 'keep well.'
  • Cherokee Food, Dried Food; Leaves and stems tied together and hung up to dry or sun dried and stored for future use.
  • Cherokee Food, Frozen Food; Tender leaves and stems frozen in early spring.
  • Cherokee Food, Unspecified; Young shoots and leaves boiled, fried with fat and eaten.
  • Cherokee Food, Vegetable; Leaves and stems cooked alone or with poke, eggs, dock, cornfield creasy or any other greens.
  • Cherokee Food, Vegetable; Leaves and stems parboiled, rinsed and boiled in hot grease until soft.
  • Cherokee Food, Vegetable; Leaves used as cooked spring salad to keep well.
  • Cherokee Food, Winter Use Food; Leaves and stems preserved by blanching, then boiling in the 'can' with or without salt.
  • Chippewa Drug, Burn Dressing; Compound poultice of blossoms applied to burns.
  • Chippewa Drug, Gastrointestinal Aid; Compound infusion of root taken for indigestion.
  • Chippewa Drug, Veterinary Aid; Compound infusion of root applied to chest and legs of horse as a stimulant.
  • San Felipe Food, Vegetable; Young stems eaten like celery.

  • See ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 7/5/2012; updated 10/19/2020
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
    Lowell E. Urbatsch, Patricia B. Cox, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae, Rudbeckia, 7. Rudbeckia laciniata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 906. 1753. ; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search; accessed 10/19/2020.
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet;; accessed 10/19/2020.
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet; accessed 10/19/2020. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Rudbeckia laciniata', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 August 2020, 23:03 UTC, [accessed 19 October 2020]
    FNA 2006, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor: S.Buckley, 2010; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; accessed 11/18/2020.

    NC State University and N.C. A&T State University; accessed 10/19/2020.
    Seiler, John, Peterson, John, North American species range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 10/11/2020)
    IPNI (2020). International Plant Names Index. Published on the Internet, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries and Australian National Botanic Gardens. [Retrieved 11 October 2020].