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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rudbeckia Flowers

Type of Flower 
Rudbeckia is a plant genus of 23 species in the family Asteraceae.The species are commonly called coneflowers and black-eyed-susans; all are native to North America and many species are cultivated in gardens for their showy yellow or gold flower heads. 
The species are herbaceous, mostly perennial plants (some annual or biennial) growing to 0.5–3 m tall, with simple or branched stems. The leaves are spirally arranged, entire to deeply lobed, 5–25 cm long. The flowers are produced in daisy-like inflorescences, with yellow or orange florets arranged in a prominent, cone-shaped head; "cone-shaped" because the ray florets tend to point out and down (are decumbent) as the flower head opens.
A large number of species have been proposed within Rudbeckia, but most are now regarded as synonyms of the limited.
Several currently accepted species have several accepted varieties. Some of them (for example the Black-eyed Susan, R. hirta), are popular garden flowers distinguished for their long flowering times. There are many cultivars of these species. 
Rudbeckia species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species including Cabbage Moth and Dot Moth. 
The name was given by Carolus Linnaeus in honor of his teacher at Uppsala University, Professor Olof Rudbeck the Younger (1660-1740), and his father Professor Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630-1702), both of whom were botanists. 
Rudbeckia is one of at least four genera within the flowering plant family Asteraceae whose members are commonly known as coneflowers; the others are Echinacea, Dracopis and Ratibida.
Rudbeckia are easy to establish, naturalize well and require little maintenance other than deadheading. 
Rudbeckia can be started indoors, from seed. Plant about 6-8 weeks before last expected frost. Perennial varieties will germinate best if kept in the refrigerator or similarly cold place for 4 weeks after planting. Then move them back to a warm spot (70ºF-72ºF) until seeds actually germinate.. 
Rudbeckia can also be direct seeded in the garden once daytime temperatures remain around 60ºF. Of course, plants can be purchased and transplanted. 
They are not particular about soil, but do best in soil that is not too rich, with well-draining conditions. 
Keep plants well watered the first season, to get them established. Once established, the will be quite drought resistant. 
Go easy on the fertilizer. Too much will result in weak stems and plants. A side dressing of compost should be all they’ll need. 
Regular deadheading of the faded flowers will keep the plants in bloom longer. You can let the last flowers of the season remain on the plants to go to seed and feed the birds, but you will also get a good deal of self-seeding. 
Division is only necessary if the clump gets too large for its space. Rudbeckias don’t generally die out in the center and require regular division.
Many species are used in prairie restorations and for ornamental use. Used by domestic stock for forage. An abundance of these plants on a rangeland indicates good health.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudbeckia http://gardening.about.com/od/plantprofile1/p/Rudbeckia.htm

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