Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grayhead Coneflower

Grayhead coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Ratibida pinnata, a native coneflower, is making quite a show this year. I scattered seeds several years ago. Those seeds germinated, grew and produced abundant seed. The self seeded plants are now growing in the meadow, the savanna and the prairie. It is growing tallest in the prairie where it competes with big blue stem and Culver's root. This plant at the top of the photo is reaching upwards to 6 feet. The plants in the drier savanna area are only about 4 to 5 feet tall. The flower heads start off green then brown and finally mature turning gray and the bright yellow petals fall off. Seeds are eaten by some birds, the flowers are a source of nectar and pollen for many insects and the leaves are browsed by some mammals.

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