Black-Eyed Susan

2 entries found.
Black-Eyed Susan
Common Name: Black-Eyed Susan
Botanical Name: Thunbergia alata (thun-BER-ji-a a-LAY-ta)
Decorative Life: Can flower for many weeks in the landscape.
Family Roots:
  • Is a member of the Acanthaceae (acanthus) family with common relatives including Crossandra, Aphelandra, Fittonia and Beloperone (shrimp plant).
  • Native to Tropical Africa.
  • Is a twining perennial, but often grown as an annual.
  • Leaves are to 3 inches, ovate to cordate, margins dentate, and petiole winged.
Availability: Generally only grown in the summer.
Flower Color: Most commonly the flowers are orange-yellow with dark purple throats or centers. However, flowers can also be creamy-white, and the darker colored throats may or may not be present, regardless of the rest of the flower color.
  • Genus named after Dr. Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1822), who traveled in Japan and Java, eventually becoming a Professor of Botany at the University of Uppsala. While studying medicine, he became fascinated with the work of Linnaeus and thereafter concentrated on plants.
  • Specific epithet "alata" in reference to its winged petioles.
  • Will easily flower the first year from seed.
  • Most often grown as a frost tender annual but can over winter in warmer areas. If grown as a perennial, spring pruning is generally in order.
Recent Findings: To date, no postharvest literature has been uncovered for this species.
Black-Eyed Susan
Common Name: Black-Eyed Susan, Cone flower
Botanical Name: Rudbeckia hirta (rud-BEK-ee-a HIR-ta)
Decorative Life: 2-4 plus weeks depending on environment.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a fresh flower food solution or a bleach solution.
  • Flower food solutions do not extend vaselife. The use of floral foams can reduce vaselife by about 50%.
Harvest Instructions: Harvest when flowers are fully opened.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster family).
  • Native to the Eastern US.
  • Common relatives include chrysanthemum, marigold, zinnia, lettuce, aster and endive.
  • Flower heads with ray petals surrounding a dark, cone-like center, 3-4 inches across.
  • Stems leafy, coarsely hairy, 24-32 inches long.
  • Plant is an annual or short-lived perennial, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
  • Flowers are not fragrant.
Availability: Late summer, autumn.
Flower Color: Yellow, orange, purple, bicolors, bronze and red.
Storage Specifics: Store at 36-41F but only for a short time.
  • Named by Linnaeus for Olof Rudbeck (1660-1740) who was a professor at Upsala University. Rudbeck's father, Olof the elder, founded Upsala's botanic garden.
  • The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a "composite" of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one "petal" off at a time, saying "she/he loves me, loves me not", they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
  • The specific epithet name "hirta" means hairy, in reference to its hairy stems and leaves.
  • One good cultivar is 'Becky' that has yellow with reddish flower markings.