Rudbeckia auriculata (Perdue) Kral
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright; tall (more than 10 feet), many branched, smooth perennial with a long taproot. Preferred habitat is margin of swamps, wet places, ditches and stream banks. Distribution is throughout the Coastal Plain, but in isolated areas and widely scattered.
Leaves are alternate on the stem; lower leaves are large to 20 inches long and six inches wide; scattered hairs; margins are smooth or occasionally with scattered teeth; minute ears at base where leaf stalk is attached to stem. Upper leaves decrease in size to less than one inch. Leaves may be abruptly pointed or long-pointed; widest at the middle; lance-like or egg-shaped.
Flowers are at the end of the stem (terminal); a single head per stalk; symmetrical in shape. Disc flowers are purplish/black in color; containing both stamens and pistils (bisexual) and elevated to a cone above the ray flowers. Ray flowers are yellow. Flowering occurs in the summer.
Seed is achene (outer layer is fused to the seed).
These plants are difficult to overlook in the habitat due to their tremendous height and brilliance of flower. No other species of black-eyed Susan attains this size. To date only a few colonies of the plant have been reported in counties adjacent to the Florida line; one colony is known in Walton County.