Yellow coneflower is a long-season, summer to early fall perennial with dramatically drooping yellow daisylike flowers with elongated, egg-shaped, brown center disks. It is a great species for erosion control, slopes, naturalized woodlands, meadows, native gardens, pollinator gardens, beds, and borders. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.
Size and method of spreading:
Yellow coneflower is 3 to 5 feet tall with a 1 ½ to 2 feet spread at maturity. It spreads by underground stem structures (rhizomes) producing offsets.
Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)
The native range of yellow coneflower includes the Eastern and Central United States. C Value: 4.
Attracts birds or pollinators:
Yellow coneflower attracts a variety of beneficial insects that includes numerous species of bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, and wasps. Goldfinches sometimes eat the seeds, also.
Yellow coneflower leaves are somewhat sparse and rough to the touch due to short, stiff hairs. They are light to medium yellowish-green and occur in an alternate arrangement along the stem. As the leaves ascend the stem, the stalk that attaches them to the stem shortens, and some of the uppermost leaves may be stalkless. The upper leaves tend to be undivided, long, and narrow (lanceolate). The lower leaves of yellow coneflower are deeply divided into three to seven lobes that are divided like a feather (pinnately). Some of those lobes are further divided into one to two secondary lobes. The compound leaves are approximately 8 inches long and 5 inches wide and have smooth edges (entire margins) or sparse teeth (dentate margins) along the edges.
Yellow coneflower produces daisy-like flowers with up to 15 yellow, extremely reflexed, petallike ray flowers. The ray flowers are approximately 2 inches long. The center disk of flowers is elongated into an egg-shaped cone. This cone is first a grayish-green color but turns brown as the densely packed center flowers (disk flowers) open. The disk flowers mature from the bottom toward the top of the cone in an almost spiral pattern, sometimes giving the cone a bit of a bald appearance. Surrounding the base of the flowerheads are long, pointed, leaflike bracts that protrude upward from between the drooping ray flowers.
Yellow coneflower fruit is densely packed together on the cone. The disk flowers produce small, single-seeded, dry fruit (achenes). The achenes are hairless and dark in color.
This plant grows well in a variety of soil textures, including clay and sandy soils, as long as the soil drains well.
List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:
Yellow coneflower is not susceptible to major issues with pests and diseases. It is deer-resistant, but groundhogs may eat the foliage.