Ratibida pinnata

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: grey-head coneflower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Central North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers clay or sandy soils. Tolerates poor, dry soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ratibida pinnata, commonly called gray headed coneflower, is a Missouri native plant which typically occurs in dry woods, prairies and along railroad tracks and roads. A somewhat rough-looking plant that features pinnately divided leaves (to 5" long) on stiff stems growing 3-5' tall. The composite flowers have a dull-gray central disk in the shape of an elongated cylinder (1 inch long), somewhat resembling the crown of a slender sombrero. When bruised, the disk smells of anise. Attached to the bottom of the disk is a brim of 3-7, extremely reflexed (downward pointing), bright yellow ray flowers (to 3" long). Long summer bloom period.

Genus name of uncertain origin.

Specific epithet is in reference to the pinnate leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems. May need staking or other support.


Interesting plant for the sunny border, native plant garden, meadow or prairie. Best massed because individual plants are narrow and somewhat sparsely leafed.