GRAYHEAD PRAIRIE CONEFLOWER
File Size: 86 KB
 
Ratibida pinnata   (Vent. ) Barnhart
Riley County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 3-5 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   June, July, August
Stems: Erect, slender, single or clustered, sometimes branched above, grooved, more or less stiff-hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, long-stalked below, nearly sessile above, to 10 inches long, pinnately 3-7-divided; segments lanceolate, widest at middle, stiff-hairy; margins coarsely toothed to entire; tips pointed; upper leaves reduced.
Inflorescences: Heads, 1 to several, terminal, on long, stiff stalks, oblong to rounded, 1/2 to 1 inch tall, 2/5 to 4/5 inch wide; bracts 10-14, in 2 series, linear to linear-oblong.
Flowers: Ray florets 6-13, 1 to 2.5 inches long, yellow, drooping; tips toothed; disk florets with brownish corollas, each covered by gray scale prior to opening.
Fruits: Achenes, short, flattened, tips without bristles or scales, enclosing small seed.
Habitat: Dry prairies, disturbed areas, roadsides, and woodland edges, most abundant on limestone or chalk soils.
Distribution: East 1/3 of Kansas.
Forage Value: Livestock graze young plants.
Uses: Native Americans used the root to treat toothaches.
Comments: Grayhead prairie coneflower can be grown easily from seeds and makes an attractive addition to flower gardens.

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