Prairie Coneflower
Ratibida columnifera
(Nutt.) Woot. & Standl.
Synonyms: R. columnaris, Rudbeckia columnaris
Family: Asteraceae, Aster or Composite
Genus: Ratibida

Plant height: 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.
Flowering time: June-August.
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

Medicinal plant, see below.
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Edible Uses:
The Dakota and Oglala Indians used leaves and cylindrical heads from coneflower to make a well-tasting tea like beverage.

Medicinal Uses:
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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