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Rudbeckia hirta is one of a number of plants with the common name black-eyed Susan. Other common names for this plant include: brown-eyed Susan, brown betty, gloriosa daisy, golden Jerusalem,English bull's eye, poor-land daisy, yellow daisy, and yellow ox-eye daisy.
The plant also is a traditional Native Americanmedicinal herb in several tribal nations; believed in those cultures to be a remedy, among other things, for colds, flu, infection, swelling and (topically, by poultice) for snake bite (although not all parts of the plant are edible)
Parts of the plant have nutritional value. Other parts are not edible.
Rudbeckia hirta is an upright annual (sometimes biennial or perennial) growing 30-100 cm (12-39 in) tall by 30-45 cm (12-18 in) wide. It has alternate, mostly basal leaves 10-18 cm long, covered by coarse hair, with stout branching stems and daisy-like, compositeflower heads appearing in late summer and early autumn. In the species, the flowers are up to 10 cm (4 in) in diameter, with yellow ray florets circling conspicuous brown or black, dome-shaped cone of many small disc florets. However, extensive breeding has produced a range of sizes and colours, including oranges, reds and browns.
This species is the Maryland state flower and is widely planted in gardens and used in ceremonies there. It also grows wild throughout much of the state.
The black-eyed Susan was designated the state flower of Maryland in 1918. In this capacity it is used in gardens and ceremonies to celebrate, memorialize and show affection for the state of Maryland and its people.
The Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland, has been termed "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" because a blanket of Viking Poms, a variety of Chrysanthemums resembling Black-eyed Susans, is traditionally placed around the winning horse's neck (actual Black-eyed Susans are not in bloom in May during the Preakness).
Symbol of Justice
The black-eyed Susan which also traditionally symbolizes "Justice" makes a very nice cut-flower with a vase life up to 10 days.
University of Southern Mississippi
In 1912, the black-eyed Susan became the inspiration for the University of Southern Mississippi school colors (black and gold), suggested by Florence Burrow Pope, a member of the university's first graduating class. According to Pope: "On a trip home, I saw great masses of Black-Eyed Susans in the pine forests. I decided to encourage my senior class to gather Black-Eyed Susans to spell out the name of the class on sheets to be displayed during exercises on Class Day. I then suggested black and gold as class colors, and my suggestion was adopted."
Butterfly attractant for enhancing gardens
Butterflies are attracted to Rudbeckia hirta when planted in large color-masses, creating a beautiful spectacle.
Traditional Native American medicinal uses
The roots but not the seedheads of Rudbeckia hirta can be used much like the related Echinacea purpurea to boost immunity and fight colds, flu and infections.
It is also an astringent when used in a warm infusion as a wash for sores and swellings.
Juice from the roots has been used as drops for earaches.
Certain parts of the plant contains anthocyanins a class of antioxidant with several known health benefits.
As with any wild plant, it is usually recommended to research carefully before consuming as not all parts of the plant may be edible and to avoid mis-identification with other plants that may look similar to the Black eyed Susan.
It is widely recommended always to consult one's doctor before taking any medicinal herb.
With any herb approved by a doctor for use, it is widely agreed that recommended dosages and preparation procedures should always be followed.
The species is also known to be toxic to cats when ingested.