Other names: drooping coneflower, gray
coneflower, prairie coneflower, weary Susan, grayhead
Blooming time: June to September
Height: 3-5 feet tall
Stems and Leaves: The yellow coneflower has a
slender, grooved stem that is sometimes branched, and is
covered with fine hairs that point upward. Alternate
lower leaves on long petioles are divided into three to
seven leafelets. The lower leaves may be as long as 10
inches, the upper ones are smaller. The leaflets are
slender and lance-shaped and usually have coarse teeth.
The leaves tend to droop slightly.
Flowers and Fruit: One or several flowers may
top a single stem. Each flower has its own long stalk.
From 5 to 10 light yellow petals droop downward and may
be as long as 2 inches and are less than 1/2 inch wide.
They are arranged around a cone which is actually a
"disk" of flowers. Prior to the opening of the disk
florets, the disk is an ashy gray, but after the florets
open the disk turns brown. The cone may be 3/4 in. long
and is longer than it is wide. When the center cone is
crushed, it has a distinct anise scent.
Interesting facts: American Indians made a tea
from the flower cones and the leaves of the yellow
coneflower. The Meskwaki used the root to cure
toothaches. The young plants provide good grazing for
livestock. Yellow coneflower grows readily from seed and
is a good choice for starting a garden of prairie
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Page last updated March 24, 2015
Text resources: Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie- The Upper Midwest,
Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa;
A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Northeastern and
North-central North America, Roger Tory Peterson and
Photos by Barb McGee - bjmcreations.com