Rudbeckia is a genus name most often associated with the common name ‘black-eyed Susan,’ with flowers having bright yellow rays and dark brown centers of tiny disk flowers. Cut-leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) is kind of like that relative in the family with different features that made you wonder what the milkman looked like. It’s a large perennial plant, easily reaching over 5 feet in my garden, growing even larger when in a sunny, wet area. Deeply lobed leaves give it the cut-leaf common name while a green center sometimes has people calling it green-headed coneflower.
While popular as a garden plant, the natural distribution in Georgia is a bit scattered among spots in the Piedmont and the upper Coastal Plain. We have found it on at least one rescue site in Cherokee County. It self-sows readily and is often shared among friends. I noticed recently that I have some seedlings that I need to pot up for one of our plant sales, although one is already marked for a friend. Give it plenty of room in your garden, in a moist place if you have it, and then stand back and admire the pollinators and birds that visit it for pollen, nectar, and seeds.