Prairie Coneflower
(Pinnate Prairie Coneflower - Globular Prairie Coneflower - Gray Head Mexican Hat)
Ratibida pinnata - (Ventenat) Barnhart
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family

The Prairie Coneflower is a tall, upright perennial plant. Its preferred habitat is open fields, roadsides and borders of flat pine woods. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are similar in appearance to those of Coreopsis tripteris; alternate on the stem, trifoliate, and stalked. Each lealet is lance-like in form, consisting of one whole part. The color is grayish-green and has downy hairs along the underside and stem.

The flowers are terminal heads with eight to ten drooping yellow petals, The flowers are bisexual in nature and symmetrical in form. Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is achene (a seed which outer layer is fused to it).

The plant is often called Yellow coneflower because of its drooping yellow petals or Gray-head Coneflower for its gray seed head. The crushed seed heads have a sharply aromatic anise scent. The native Prairie Coneflower will tolerate a wide range of conditions but grows best in rich, well drained soil and full sun. This is an excellent choice for the butterfly garden or meadow, and for cut flowers. Yellow coneflower is also the common name for Echinacea paradoxa, a completely different native wildflower. The seeds are consumed by songbirds and it's flowers attract butterflies.

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