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Nature Notebook – Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans can be seen in gardens and growing naturally in roadside waste areas. Originally found in the western plains of North America, the sun-loving, yellow-pedaled flowers “migrated” eastward as European settlers cleared forests for their farms.

Close examination reveals that black-eyed Susans are actually numerous flowers growing on one stalk. The petals are sterile, ray flowers; they act as advertisement signs for pollinators. The smaller, darker tube-like flowers that contain the reproductive parts cluster together to form a disc shape…the “eye.”

Insects love these plants. Short-tongued insects partake of the abundant pollen and nectar-loving insects can find plenty of nectar in the floret tubes in the disc.

The multitude of seeds produced (1,000,000 in a pound!) ensures that there will be many more Susans next year.