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Coneflower, Gray headed

Ratibida pinnata

Yellow flower petals of this easy to grow plant dance in summer breezes



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Ratibida pinnata, commonly called gray headed coneflower, is a native perennial forb (wildflower) which typically occurs in dry woods, prairies and along railroad tracks and roads.

Wildlife notes

Many kinds of insects visit the flowers, but especially bees, including Epeoline Cuckoo bees, large Leaf-Cutting bees, Green Metallic bees, and other Halictine bees. Other insect visitors include wasps, flies, small butterflies, and beetles. These insects suck nectar from the flowers, although the bees also collect pollen and some beetles feed on pollen. The caterpillars of the butterfly Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) feed on gray headed coneflower, as well as the caterpillars of the moths Eynchlora acida (Wavy-Lined Emerald) and Eupithecia miserulata (Common Eupithecia). Goldfinches occasionally eat the seeds, while some mammalian herbivores eat the foliage and flowering stems, particularly groundhogs.

Forage notes

Livestock enjoy the foliage and flowering stems of this plant.

Landscaping notes

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers clay or sandy soils. Tolerates poor, dry soils. Interesting plant for the sunny border, native plant garden, meadow or prairie. Best massed because individual plants are narrow and somewhat sparsely leafed. Long summer bloom period.

Restoration notes

Habitats include moist to slightly dry black soil prairies, clay prairies, thickets, woodland borders, limestone glades, and areas along railroads, particularly where remnant prairies occur. Gray headed coneflower tends to colonize the more disturbed areas of these habitats.

This species is commonly used in the following mixes: Streambank Mix, Buck’s Hangout

Additional information

Weight N/A

Packet, Ounces, Pounds


Full Sun to Part Shade

Seeding Rate

5 bulk lbs/acre





Bloom Month

Jun, Jul


Brown, Yellow

Specialty Uses

Cut Flower

Cattle Palatability


# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq. ft

Life Cycle


What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.