Habit: clump forming herbaceous perennial producing unbranched stems from a narrow crown. Leaves have a smooth texture with a strongly pointed tip and broadly ovate near the base. Inflorescence is a raised conical to rounded composite of 200-500 disc flowers, each with minute yellow petals together appearing dark brown to maroon, directly below inflorescence is a whorl of bright green leaf like bracts. The center lengthens as the fruits, single seeded achenes, develop. Blooms from summer into the fall.
Ecology: found in the Western United States in moist mountain meadows and riparian zones at elevations from 3200-9000 ft (1000-2800 m).
Growing Conditions: full sun to partial shade in moist to wet soil.
Bees and butterflies flock to Rudbeckia occidentalis when in bloom, while seeds left on the cone heads provide food for birds.