PRAIRIE CONEFLOWER
File Size: 65 KB
 
Ratibida columnifera   (Nutt. ) Woot. & Standl.
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-3 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July, August
Stems: Erect, slender, single or clustered, sometimes branched, grooved, rough.
Leaves: Alternate, stalked, to 6 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, pinnately 1-2-divided; segments 5-13, narrow, unequal, linear or lanceolate, appressed-hairy, gland-dotted; tips pointed or blunt.
Inflorescences: Heads, solitary to several, terminal, on stalks to 10 inches long, columnar, to 2 inches tall, 1/2 inch thick; bracts 5-14 in 2 series, outer series linear-lanceolate, turning downward.
Flowers: Ray florets 4-11, to 1.25 inch long, spreading or drooping, yellow, bases sometimes reddish purple; tips notched; disk florets numerous, corollas brownish, each covered by gray scale prior to opening, open from base of receptacle to top.
Fruits: Achenes, oblong, less than 1/8 inch long, flattened, gray, tipped with 1-2 teeth, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry prairies, open waste ground, and roadsides.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Forage Value: Livestock consume prairie coneflower in its early-growth stage.
Uses: Great Plains Indians brewed a tea from the leaves and flowers and used the leaves and stems medicinally to treat poison ivy, rattlesnake bites, headaches, and stomachaches. Prairie coneflower is sometimes used in flower gardens.

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