Robin's Plantain (Erigeron Pulchellus) is one of the earliest members of the composite family to bloom. In fact it is often known as the "Blue Spring Daisy," a name which is very appropriate for it, much more so than the one it commonly bears. The very fuzzy, light green, juicy stalk attains heights of from 10 to 24 inches. Must of the leaves are in a dense rosette at the base of the stalk they are spatulate in shape, indistinctly toothed and hairy throughout. The few stem leaves are small, hairy and clasping at their bases. From one to nine flowers, an inch, or slightly more, broad are grouped at the top of the stem. They are handsome blossoms, resembling asters, but the yellowish centers of tubular florets are broader and flatter; the lilac or violet rays are very numerous and are arranged quite evenly around the central disc.
Robin's Plantain is a perennial with creeping root-stalks and will be found year after year in the same localities. It is often communistic and found growing in quite large colonies; it may also be met with singly. It is common everywhere, most abundant in slightly moist soil, from Me. to Minn, and southwards, blooming in May and June.
Purple Cone Flower (Brauneria Purpurea) is a showy western species bearing a single, large flower head with a conical center of purple disc florets and surrounded by many, large, notched, magenta rays. The stiff, hairy stem rises 2 to 3 feet high. The leaves, also stiff-hairy, alternate along it; the upper ones are toothless and seated on the stem, while the lower ones are sharply toothed; they are five-ribbed and deep green in color. Rich soil, N. Y to Mich, and southwards.
Black-eyed Susan; Cone Flower. Rudbeckia hirta.
Black-Eyed Susan; Yellow Daisy; Cone Flower (Rudbeckia Hirta) is a beautiful, large-flowered, tough-stemmed species that is commonly found in dry fields and pastures throughout the East, although it is, by nativity, a western species.
The stem is hairy, rough, very tough and grows from 1 to 3 feet in height; usually it is simple but sometimes tufted, that is two or more stems may proceed from a single root. Single, large flowers are borne at the summit of each stem.
The involucre is composed of two rows of leaf-like bracts that spread as the flower opens, the outer ones extending almost as widely as the rays. The conical, dark purple center is composed of long, tubular florets that ripen in successive circles about the cone, making a fringe of yellow pollen on its surface. The orange-yellow rays are neutral, with neither stamens nor pistils. They have their uses, however, for they present a flaming advertisement to all passing bees and butterflies, of the stores of nectar and pollen to be reaped from the florets at the center. The tubes are long and the nectar is seated at the bottom, so it is only insects with long, slender tongues that are enabled to taste of the sweets.
The leaves, scattered alternately along the stem, are also stiff and hairy; they have three prominent ribs. The upper ones are lanceolate and seated on the stem, the lower ones are broader towards the tip, rather spatulate-shaped. The plant stem is so rigid and tough that it is difficult to pick the flowers without pulling up the entire stem. This should be carefully avoided, for the roots are perennial and plants will spring up year after year if they are undisturbed.
Tall Cone Flower. Rudbeckia laciniata.