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Brown-eyed susan is a traditional American nursery rhyme about a woman with brown eyes.Rudbeckia triloba is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial with many common names including branched coneflower, thin-leaved coneflower, three lobed coneflower and brown-eyed Susan. It is native to the prairies of the eastern and Midwestern US (New York to Florida, west to Minnesota, Utah and Texas), and is naturalized in open woods and old fields, and on rocky slopes in zones 3(5)-10.
The native Brown-Eyed Susan is a common plant in Illinois, except for some counties in the southern and NW sections of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats include black soil prairies, prairie remnants along railroads, thickets, savannas, meadows and openings in wooded areas, riverbanks, edges of fens, roadsides, vacant lots, and abandoned fields. Areas with a history of disturbance are preferred, although this plant also occurs in high quality natural areas.While a Minnesota species of special concern in the wild from loss of habitat to agriculture and invasive species, Brown-eyed Susan flourishes in gardens across the state. One of the best cut flowers around it can last for weeks in a kitchen vase. While the flowers may be similar to Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), though smaller, the leaves and overall plant structure make them easy to distinguish.
Found a small plant growing near my shoreline on Lake Stella, in not very good soil. I collected seeds and germinated them the next year and planted out in my wildflower garden. Then forgot about them. The following year I had the most spectacular 'black eyed susan' ever. About four feet tall, this plant had hundreds of blooms for about two months. Absolutely Drop Dead Gorgeous. Rudbeckia triloba’s many common names include Brown-Eyed Susan, Branched Coneflower, Thin-Leaved Coneflower and Three-Lobed Coneflower. Its native range extends from New York to Minnesota and south to Utah and Texas. The plant’s dark green alternate leaves are slightly hairy and are divided into three oval parts, hence the species name 'triloba'. (Source: www.prairiemoon.com)