Friday, July 24, 2015
Prairie Plant of the Week - "Ratibida pinnata"!
"Ratibida pinnata - Yellow Coneflower"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
I made this prairie forb the "print of the week" because it was peaking nicely here at the studio prairie pastures - so why not "plant of the week" too!?
As I mentioned before, this is a very common native prairie flower or forb (flowering herbacious plant). Most will recognize it a first glance but maybe by different names. I like to state the scientific name for a plant if I can - that way there is no argument what plant is being discussed! This plant (Ratibida pinnata) is commonly referred to as a "Gray-headed Coneflower" or a "Yellow Coneflower", and even some times a "Prairie Coneflower"
"Gray-headed Coneflower" refers to the light green or gray flowering head when it first appears - before filling out with small florets and turning brown.
This prairie flower will adapt readily in a flower garden but tends to be pretty tall at times (4-5 feet here in the pasture) so it needs support from other plants or will lie down from being top heavy.
There is not any odor or smell that I can detect from the flowers, but the bees and butterflies are non-the-less attracted to them...the bees can often be seen pollinating by going round and round the rim of florets. The smell of this plant's seed heads when they are dry and ready to pick - is "amazing"! Its a wonderful smell that has come to mean "prairie" in the autumn to me.
Thanks for stopping by - hope to see you on the Tallgrass!