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Rudbeckia maxima is an overlooked drought-tolerant native that can be found from Arkansas to Texas, growing in seasonally moist roadside ditches alongside old tires, beer cans, and cigarette butts. The research into whether the abundance of motor oil in these sites is actually essential for plant growth has been inconclusive. This unique giant black-eyed Susan has a deciduous basal rosette of waxy blue foliage resembling a collard (that's sort of like a cabbage to you northern folks). In late spring through early summer, the flower stalks of Rudbeckia maxima rise to over 7' tall. At the top of each stalk are 2-3" wide, brown-centered, yellow daisies...WOW! After flowering, we leave the seed stalks as a delicacy for goldfinches.
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