Skip to main content
Idaho Harvester home, Baby Joe Vandal logo
Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library home
Featured Image

Echinacea or Rudbeckia? That Is The Question!

Tags: flowers botany
Series: Flowery Friday

While walking around campus the other day, we came across these beautiful yellow flowers. It was a lovely day, and we thought “What a perfect flower for this weeks Flowery Friday.” Then the trouble began…

Black-eyed Susans
Black-eyed Susans

Admittedly, no one here is a botanist. We do not know our flowers particularly well, but we try to find something interesting about the flowers we post. Today, we found, we could not determine for certain what this plant is specifically. At first, we thought (after searching Google for “yellow flowers”) it was a Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), but then we discovered the Yellow Coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa). Many of the images seemed so similar, it was hard for us to decide.

More research showed us, Yellow Coneflowers and Black-Eyed Susans are very similar. For example:

  • Both are from the aster family
  • Both produce long-stemmed flowers with daisy-like petals
  • Both are adaptable to various conditions
  • Both use the common name “coneflower” interchangeably

So, what are their differences? Well…

  • Rudbeckia tend to tolerate cooler climates
  • Echinacea are slightly larger
  • Rudbeckia flowers grow outward, while the petals of echinacea tend to curve down and outward from the center of the flower1

Ultimately, we think they are Rudbeckias, why? Because more pictures on Google look like these flowers when you search “Blake-Eyed Susan” than when you search “Yellow Coneflower.”

Please do let us know if we are wrong. Happy Flowery Friday!


Photo courtesy of Library Staff

Have Feedback on this post or the site?

Send us your thoughts!