Prairie or Gray Headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Brighten your summer garden with the long-lasting blooms of prairie coneflower.
Native from Ontario to South Dakota, south to Oklahoma, Louisiana and east to Florida they are hardy in zones 3 to 9. This makes them a pretty option for most gardeners.
Prairie coneflower is also known as gray headed coneflower and botanically as Ratibida pinnata. The downward pointing bright yellow petals and gray cone shaped center make it easy to see why these were once grouped with Rudbeckias. Crush the cone and you’ll get a whiff of anise.
Prairie coneflowers grow 3 to 4 feet tall but are rather narrow. So plant them en masse for the greatest impact. They combine nicely with other perennials and also work well in meadow and natural plantings.
Then watch for the butterflies that come to visit collecting nectar from the flowers and birds munching on the seeds.
A bit more information: The cone and leaves of Ratibida were used to make tea. The roots were used to cure toothaches.