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Ratibida pinnata (prairie coneflower)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Ratibida pinnata

prairie coneflower

Brown cones with reflexed yellow ray petals adorn this midwestern prairie native in midsummer. Emits a soft fragrance of anise when seeds are crushed. Long-lived and very easy to grow in most situations. Great for attracting birds and butterflies! Combines well with meadow grasses and flowers. Makes a wonderful cut flower, too!

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3-5 Feet


2-3 Feet


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

prairie coneflower Interesting Notes

This gray headed coneflower is a Missouri native plant which typically occurs in dry woods, prairies and along railroad tracks and roads. A somewhat rough-looking plant that features pinnately divided leaves (to 5" long) on stiff stems growing 3-5' tall. The composite flowers have a dull-gray central disk in the shape of an elongated cylinder (1 inch long), somewhat resembling the crown of a slender sombrero. When bruised, the disk smells of anise. Attached to the bottom of the disk is a brim of 3-7, extremely reflexed (downward pointing), bright yellow ray flowers (to 3" long). Species name of pinnata is in reference to the pinnate leaves. Long summer bloom period. - Missouri Botanical Garden

Ratibida pinnata Growing and Maintenance Tips

R. pinnata can be found naturally in open roadsides, dry fields and limestone uplands from Ontario to South Dakota, as far south as Florida. Thrives in average to dry, well-drained, clay or sandy soil. Somewhat drought tolerant. Propagate by seed. Excellent for naturalized, meadow and butterfly gardens as well as in mass plantings.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated