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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.