Ratibida columnifera

Ratibida columnifera

Ratibida Columnifera – Mexican Hat / Prairie Coneflower (Su,D,S,N)

12 – 36″ tall x 12 – 18″ spread, fine, lacy leaves.  Yellow to reddish summer blooms from June to September.   Brown columnar center of the flower with yellow drooped rays form resemble a sombrero.  The R. columnifera forma pulcherrima have brownish purple rays. Another common name for this is the long-headed coneflower or prairie coneflower.

This is a good plant for native bees.

  • Blooms:  Summer  (Su)
  • Moisture: Medium to Dry  (M-D)
  • Soil Type: Sand (S)
  • Range: Native (N)
  • Started as: Seed

Family: Asteraceae  / Sunflower family

Propagation via seed

Also known as Rudbeckia columnaris, flowers can range from yellow to a reddish brown.    In my garden I will be testing this as replacement for the non-native cosmos that reliably reseed and put on a beautiful show from late July to October.  The cosmos’ foliage is denser than this rudbeckia so it may need companion grasses.   The one concern is the reddish morphing.  I want a true yellow if I can pick one out.  Also of concern is the inability to tolerate heavy clay.  I may be looking to an alternative if they do no survive year 2.


Ratibida columnifera

1 – 2.5

Sun, Dry This perennial blooms from June into the fall. It is hardy and easily reseeds itself. Flowers come in both yellowish and reddish morphs.



Gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is another Ratibida that goes well in a prairie.

In the garden

As typical of Colorado natives, this is following the multi-year plan.  Sleep, Creep, Leap

The first year for the Ratibida is not much to write home about.  The leaves of this columnaris is not the fine lacy of some variants, the leaves look more like the species example. A weedy looking specimen, I had to ensure I kept a plant tag nearby to ensure I didn’t pull it mistakenly.   As fall came around and cool air swept in, leaves changed to fuzzy grey with a purplish tinge.  The mild December weather and bright winter sun show off the pretty leaves.

Ratibida columnifera during the holidays of 2020

See Also:

Tips for Growing Natives

USDA link


An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.

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