Ratibida columnifera – Upright Prairie Coneflower
Scientific Name: Ratibida columnifera
Synonyms: Lepachys columnaris, L. columnifera, Ratibida columnaris, Rudbeckia columnaris, R. columnifera
Common Names: Upright Prairie Coneflower, Redspike Mexican Hat, Long-headed Coneflower, Thimbleflower, Mexican Hat Plant, Columnar Prairie Coneflower
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Upland, Mountain. This prairie wildflower grows in sunny, open areas in grasslands and grassy clearings in the mountains. Because it is often included in roadside wildflower seed mixes for these areas, it is especially common along roadsides.
Flower Color: Rusty red to maroon, Brown, Yellow, Bicolored red or brown and yellow
Flowering Season: Summer, Early fall
Height: Up to 3 feet (1 m) tall, but usually less here due to limited rainfall
Description: The flower heads are on tall, erect stalks and have a light green, elongated cone-shaped, up to 2 inch (5 cm) tall central column with dark brown and yellow disk flowers and a ring of 4 to 12 reflexed, narrowly egg-shaped rays. The leaves are light green, alternate, hairy, gland-dotted, and once or twice pinnatifid with narrow lobes. The stems are rough, hairy, green, ridged, branched, and upright.
The similar Green Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida tagetes) has flower heads with a much more rounded central column and shorter rays.
Butterfly Plant – The flowers attract butterflies.
Culturally Significant Plant – Native Americans made tea from the leaves and flower heads and used the stems and leaves for medicinal purposes.
Edible – The leaves and flower heads are edible and can be used to make tea.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Ratibida Raf. – prairie coneflower
Species: Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Woot. & Standl. – upright prairie coneflower
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