Widely known as black-eyed Susan, this North American native can be found growing as a wildflower in fields and along roadsides throughout the country. These reliable plants shine in the garden with an abundance of brightly colored flowers reflecting the brilliant yellows and oranges of the summer sun. Rudbeckias are easy to grow, adapt to a wide range of garden conditions, have few insect or disease problems, and require only minimal care for a spectacular show of cheerful color during the summer and fall.
Rudbeckias were grown in English gardens many years before they were accepted by Americans as worthy garden plants. By the mid-1800s, the rudbeckia had found its way back to America and was described by one early garden writer as “the darling of the ladies who are partial to yellow.” Growing throughout the prairies and plains, it was used medicinally by many Native Americans to care for both people and horses. The roots and flowers were made into teas and compresses to treat a variety of ailments including snake bites, worms, earaches, indigestion, burns, and sores.
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