Synonyms: R. columnaris, Rudbeckia columnaris Other names: upright prairie coneflower, Mexican hat Nomenclature: columnifera = column-shaped Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
General: plant 30-120 cm tall. Growth habit: perennial with a taproot and short, persistent stem base. Stems: usually several, branching from the base, with flat, stiff, short hairs.
Leaves: alternate, lance-shaped, deeply pinnately cut into 5-9 segments, the segments linear or lance-shaped, toothless or nearly so, with flat, short, stiff hairs.
Flowerheads: yellow with 3-7 rays, which are 15-45 mm long, relatively very broad, spreading or bent down, around a dark, column-shaped disk, mostly 15-40 mm long and about 1/4-1/2 as wide. Heads several on long stalks. Style appendages short and blunt.
Fruits: achenes, hairy and usually slightly winged on the inner edge. Pappus an evident awn tooth on the inner angle of the achene, often also with a shorter one on the outer angle.
Prairies, plains and disturbed ground, in most parts of MT. Also in MN to MO and from s.e. B.C. to TX and Mexico.
A pleasant tasting tea is made from the leaves and flower heads.
The plant has medicinal properties that are pain-relieving and fever-reducing. The leaves and stems especially are pain-relieving. A tea has been used to relieve the pain of headaches and to treat stomach aches and fevers. The Cheyenne made a tea from boiling plant parts as a wash to relieve pain and to treat poison ivy rash, and also as a wash to draw the poison out of rattlesnakes bites. The Sicangu people in South Dakota used a tea of plant tops for headaches and stomachaches. The Acoma and Laguna Indians used crushed leaves rubbed on mothers' breast to wean a child.
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