Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been working on a Euphorbia post since the last one, but it is proving somewhat complicated. So, I thought I would work on an easier one for now.
There are Rudbeckia hirta (Black-Eyed Susans) from one end of the farm to the other. You see them everywhere along highways, backroads, pastures, gardens, etc. Pretty much everyone knows what they are. For years, all the Black-Eyed Susans I have seen have been the basic orange-yellow flowers with dark brown discs (receptacles…) in the center. To be honest, I thought a Black-Eyed Susan was a Black-Eyed Susan. Once you see one, you have seen them all. Even so, I read in their descriptions they can have flowers with reddish markings on their petals and I have seen photos online but never in person.
On September 17, I went to the south hayfield to take photos of the Euphorbia nutans (Nodding Spurge) where I knew there were several colonies. Once I did that, I thought I would walk through the Black-Eyed Susans. I certainly didn’t have to look for them since 2/3 of the hayfield is covered with them. There are other wildflowers growing among them so it was no telling what I would find…
After I took several photos of the Euphorbia nutans, I walked about 20′ or so north and spotted something weird… Can you see the difference between the flowers on the right and left…
I have seen some weird things, and this was definitely one of the newest. Not exactly what I was hoping to find, but this was definitely interesting.
I had never seen Black-Eyed Susans with light brown receptacles… The disc “florets” are supposed to be dark purple to purplish-brown. The ray florets (petals) are also darker toward the center… I looked the plants over pretty good from top to bottom, and they are definitely Rudbeckia hirta… You never know since there are several species of Rudbeckia in Missouri. Maybe this is the Black-Eyed Susan’s idea of an albino…
I walked farther out…
HA!!! Would you look at that! I had often wondered if larger colonies would have more variation, and perhaps this is proof of that. Hmmm… Maybe it is from inbreeding.
I was glad I finally found Black-Eyed Susans with reddish color on the petals.
Among the whole area, there were quite a few smaller colonies here and there with these two-one petals.
The colonies with the reddish markings usually were mixed with flowers with two-tone petals.
I am glad I walked out into the Black-Eyed Susans and found the different flowers. I must admit I was surprised.
I will continue working on the Euphorbia post and others at the same time. I am a little behind, but I guess that’s OK.
Until next time, be safe, stay positive, always be thankful, and GET DIRTY!