USA Official State Flower Official Maryland State Flower

Black-Eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia hirta)
Adopted in 1918.


The Black-Eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, has been the official Maryland flower since 1918 when it was designated the "Floral Emblem" of Maryland by the General Assembly (Chapter 458, Acts of 1918; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-305)



In his Species Plantarum (1753), the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus described and named the flower Rudbeckia after Olav Rudbeck and his son, both professors at the University of Uppsala, and hirta from the Latin meaning "rough hairy".


Black-eyed susan is a rough, hairy perennial daisies or coneflowers, members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The flower's yellow rays circle a dark-brown, spherical center measuring 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Commonly found in fields and on roadsides, they bloom between May and August, reaching 2 to 3 feet in height. They are native to the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Height: Plants are up to two feet tall, with narrow, toothed leaves that .
  • Leaves: Spaced alternately on the stem, mostly basal with coarse hairs.
  • Flower:  Biennial that flowers at the end of the second growing season. Heads are about two inches across. The short disc flowers in the center of the head are dark purplish-black, whereas the long outside ray flowers are bright yellow.
  • Fruit: Smooth, four-angled achenes.
  • Habitat: The Black-eyed Susan is a biennial that thrives in the high temps and direct sunlight. It is usually found in the meadows and pastures, as well as old fields and roadsides. They usually grow in undisturbed habitats and, even flourished in the Western Prairies in the early to mid 1900's. They however, are not as common as they were. The R. hirta. can also survive very well under cultivation and if cared for properly can flower a third year. Although they are found in Canada, they are not prevalent in many areas, such as Nova Scotia.


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom Plantae -- Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta -- Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae –
Order Asterales –
Family Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus Rudbeckia L. – coneflower
Species Rudbeckia hirta L. – blackeyed Susan