A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Plant of the Week: Ratibida columnifera (Long-headed Coneflower/Mexican Hat)

Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.

The long-headed coneflower (Ratibida columnifera) grows in open ground and prairies across much of North America. It is drought-tolerant and tough and, if provided with well-drained soil, makes a great garden plant for a sunny spot.

It blooms from June through late summer, even into early fall, and the flowers give off a lovely, sweet scent. The flower head is supposedly reminiscent of a sombrero, hence the alternative common name of “Mexican hat.”the-plant





The drooping “petals” are actually ray-florets—modified flowers—typical of the aster family. Its true flowers are tiny and clustered around the tall, central cone.close-up

Two forms exist, one with yellow ray-florets and a dark maroon form, which can be seen in our Herb Garden.


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