Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta

Venture into the vision of the Black-Eyed Susan flower, a plant with not only sunshine colored stamens but a chilling gaze reminiscent of the Ju-On monster. The Black-Eyed Susan, or Rudbeckia hirta, evokes Japanese horror aesthetics and attracts an array of fascinating native Florida pollinators. Drawing from scientific literature, this article explores the captivating relationships between Rudbeckia hirta and its pollinators, while highlighting its connections to other flowers and its presence in the Sunshine State.

Rudbeckia hirta and Pollinators

Also known as Gloriosa Daisy, Brown-eyed Susan, or Yellow Ox-eye Daisy, Rudbeckia hirta belongs to the Asteraceae family and is native to North America (Baldwin, 2019). With its golden-yellow petals surrounding a dark central cone, the Black-Eyed Susan provides an inviting nectar source for a diverse range of pollinators (McCall & Primack, 1992).

Florida’s Native Pollinators

  1. Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus): Monarchs rely on Black-Eyed Susans for sustenance during their migration, which passes through Florida (Oberhauser et al., 2001).
  2. Southeastern Blueberry Bee (Habropoda laboriosa): These native solitary bees are important pollinators of various flowering plants, including the Black-Eyed Susan (Cane, 1997).
  3. Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris): This beautiful hummingbird depend on nectar from various flowers, including Rudbeckia hirta, to fuel their rapid wingbeats (Stiles, 1976).
  4. White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata): This moth species is native to Florida and is drawn to the nectar of Black-Eyed Susan, contributing to the nocturnal pollinator community (Temeles et al., 2020).

Floral Connections and Florida

A Buzzer Midge, Chironomus plumosus (?) nestling on a Rudbeckia hirta, Tampa, Florida 2023

Black-Eyed Susans are part of the family Asteraceae, or Compositae, and related to other flowers such as sunflowers, daisies, and asters. In Florida, the Rudbeckia hirta thrives in sunny meadows, roadsides, and wildflower gardens, providing a valuable food source for the state’s native pollinators. Studies have shown that Black-Eyed Susans are valuable resources for pollinators due to their high nectar production (McCall & Primack, 1992).

Botanical Description

According to Moss (2022), the Rudbeckia hirta is a herbaceous flowering plant characterized by its erect stems, which can grow up to 1 meter tall. Its leaves are simple, alternate, and covered with bristly hairs, giving the plant its species name, “hirta,” meaning “hairy”. The leaves are lanceolate or ovate in shape, with the lower leaves possessing petioles while the upper leaves are sessile, or directly attached to the stem without a petiole.

The inflorescences of Rudbeckia hirta are terminal, composite flower heads, consisting of a dark, almost purple, central cone of disk florets surrounded by golden-yellow ray florets. Each disk floret is tubular and fertile, while the ray florets are sterile and function as attractants for pollinators. The fruit produced by the plant is an achene, which is a small, dry, one-seeded fruit that does not split open upon maturation.


Baldwin, B.G. (2019). Asteraceae. In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Eds.), Flora of North America North of Mexico (Vol. 21, pp. 1–1). Oxford University Press.

Cane, J.H. (1997). Lifetime monetary value of individual pollinators: the bee Habropoda laboriosa at rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei Reade). Acta Horticulturae, 446, 67–70.

McCall, C., & Primack, R. B. (1992). Influence of flower characteristics, weather, time of day, and season on insect visitation rates in three plant communities. American Journal of Botany, 79(4), 434-442.

Moss, E. H. (2002). Flora of Alberta: A Manual of Flowering Plants, Conifers, Ferns, and Fern Allies Found Growing Without Cultivation in the Province of Alberta, Canada (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press.

Oberhauser, K., Wiederholt, R., Diffendorfer, J.E., Semmens, D., Ries, L., Thogmartin, W.E., Lopez-Hoffman, L., & Semmens, B. (2001). A trans-national monarch butterfly population model and implications for regional conservation priorities. Ecological Entomology, 36(2), 261–267.

Stiles, F.G. (1976). Taste preferences, color preferences, and flower choice in hummingbirds. Condor, 78(1), 10–26.

Scientific NameRudbeckia hirta
Common NameBlack-Eyed Susan, Gloriosa Daisy, Brown-eyed Susan, Yellow Ox-eye Daisy
HabitatSunny meadows, roadsides, wildflower gardens
Native RangeNorth America
Plant TypeFlowering plant
Life CycleAnnual, Biennial, or Perennial (depending on variety and climate)
Bloom TimeSummer to early Fall
Flower ColorGolden-yellow petals with dark central cone
Flower StructureDaisy-like composite flower with central disk and ray florets
PollinatorsMonarch Butterfly, Southeastern Blueberry Bee, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, White-lined Sphinx Moth
Soil PreferenceWell-drained, loamy or sandy soil
Light RequirementFull sun
Water RequirementModerate, drought-tolerant once established
Propagation MethodsSeeds, division of clumps, stem cuttings
Conservation StatusNot Threatened
UsesOrnamental gardens, wildflower gardens, pollinator gardens, natural landscaping, cut flowers

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.