Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Ratibida columnifera


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1994. Ratibida columnifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : RATCOL SYNONYMS : Ratibida columnaris (Sims) D. Don [34,48,52] SCS PLANT CODE : RACO3 COMMON NAMES : upright prairie coneflower prairie coneflower columnar prairie coneflower long headed coneflower Mexican hat TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of upright prairie coneflower is Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Woot. and Standl. (Asteraceae) [1,26,30,51]. There is one recognized form as follows: R. c. forma pulcherrima (DC.) Fern. [1,26] Upright prairie coneflower hybridizes with prairie coneflower (Ratibida tagetes) in Colorado [54]. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Upright prairie coneflower is predominantly a Great Plains species which extends from southeastern British Columbia [30] to Manitoba [21] and Michigan [55], south through Illinois [21] to Louisiana, and west through Texas and northern Mexico [24] to Arizona [27]. Naturalized populations occur east of the Cascades [30] and in New England [2]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES31 Shinnery FRES32 Texas savanna FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie STATES : AZ AR CO IL IA KS LA MI MN MO MT NE NM ND OK SD TN TX UT WI WY AB BC MB SK MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K011 Western ponderosa forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K017 Black Hills pine forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K038 Great Basin sagebrush K040 Saltbush - greasewood K045 Ceniza shrub K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe K060 Mesquite savanna K062 Mesquite - live oak savanna K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie K071 Shinnery K074 Bluestem prairie K077 Bluestem - sacahuista prairie K081 Oak savanna K084 Cross Timbers K086 Juniper - oak savanna K098 Northern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 14 Northern pin oak 40 Post oak - blackjack oak 42 Bur oak 52 White oak - black oak - northern red oak 53 White oak 55 Northern red oak 62 Silver maple - American elm 66 Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper 67 Mohrs (shin) oak 68 Mesquite 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 237 Interior ponderosa pine 239 Pinyon - juniper 241 Western live oak 242 Mesquite SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Upright prairie coneflower is widespread throughout the Great Plains. It is not listed as an indicator species in available publications. It occurs with a variety of associated species, depending on geographic location and site conditions. Lists of associated species are available for the following areas outside the main range of upright prairie coneflower: the "hard lands" of northeastern and east-central Colorado [39], the Edwards Plateau of west-central Texas [43], the lower Rio Grande Valley of south Texas [52], and the Coastal Sand Plain of south Texas [13].


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : In a 1-year study in the central Black Hills of South Dakota, upright prairie coneflower made up 0.4 percent of cattle diets in June but was not utilized from July through October [50]. Another 1-year study showed that upright prairie coneflower was an important species in the diets of white-tailed deer in southeastern Texas from early spring through summer [9]. However, upright prairie coneflower seedlings in restored native prairie in southeastern Minnesota were not grazed by white-tailed deer, although seedlings of other forbs were eaten [19]. Upright prairie coneflower seeds were eaten by wild turkeys in south-central South Dakota. In September and October these seeds made up 1.2 percent of the volume of crop contents and were used by 10 percent of wild turkeys studied [37]. PALATABILITY : Prior to heading upright prairie coneflower is palatable to livestock [33,53]. Upright prairie coneflower palatability is rated poor to fair for cattle and horses, and fair for sheep [14]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Upright prairie coneflower energy value and protein value for livestock is poor [14]. The food value of upright prairie coneflower is listed as follows [14]: MT ND Elk poor ---- Mule deer poor poor White-tailed deer fair poor Pronghorn ---- poor Upland game birds good ---- Small nongame birds fair ---- Small mammals fair ---- COVER VALUE : The cover value of upright prairie coneflower for wildlife in North Dakota is fair for mule deer and pronghorn, and poor for white-tailed deer [14]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Upright prairie coneflower is suggested for use on roadsides, park and recreation areas, and prairie restoration projects where annual precipitation is from 10 to 30 inches (254-762 mm) [45]. Plant vigor and seed quality are rated excellent [32]. Upright prairie coneflower has been established successfully from seed [3,17,42], greenhouse stock [3], and tissue culture [31]. Research from southeastern Montana, however, indicates that moisture stress can reduce growth of seedlings. The potential for for vigorous establishment during extended drought was rated as low to moderate [18]. Prairie hay harvested from natural grassland in 1978 was used successfully as a source of upright prairie coneflower seeds in central North Dakota. This method was used to establish vegetation in the Central Great Plains after the drought of the 1930's. Both recently harvested and stored hay produced seedlings in greeenhouse tests [42]. Upright prairie coneflower seeds were collected locally in southwestern Ohio, and raked into the soil of a prairie reclamation site on a sand and gravel borrow-pit. The seeds germinated and the plants flowered [10]. Upright prairie coneflower seeds collected in the Badlands of western North Dakota were grown on raw coal spoil material. Upright prairie coneflower had good emergence of seedlings. Seedlings and greenhouse transplants showed vigorous growth for 2 years. Upright prairie coneflower developed substantially more cover on the plots than did most of the other species tested [3]. In southeastern Montana, upright prairie coneflower was recommended for inclusion in seed mixtures for strip mine reclamation. Seeds germinated well even under high water stress and with high sodium chloride concentration in the soil. Seedling performance was favorable [17]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Cheyenne Indians boiled upright prairie coneflower leaves and stems to make a solution applied externally to draw poison from rattlesnake bites. The solution was also applied for relief from poison-ivy (Toxicodendron spp.) [48]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Upright prairie coneflower responds variably to grazing. It often increases in mixtures with more palatable species, but decreases in mixed-grass prairies lacking more palatable forbs [53]. On mixed-grass prairie in east-central South Dakota, upright prairie coneflower increases when cattle grazing reduces more palatable species [38]. In southwestern Texas, upright prairie coneflower occurred on severely overgrazed shortgrass pasture [11]. A 1-year study in southeastern Texas showed no significant difference in upright prairie coneflower cover between short-duration and continuous grazing pastures [9]. Upright prairie coneflower increased slightly following mechanical brush removal in west-central Texas [43]. A northeastern Kansas tallgrass prairie containing upright prairie coneflower was mowed with different schedules on matched plots. Upright prairie coneflower canopy cover after mowing was less than 1 percent on all plots. Frequency ranged from 0 to 45 percent, varying with soil and mowing treatment [23]. Upright prairie coneflower seeds can be planted in the fall. If they are placed in winter storage for spring planting, they should be stratified with a cold dry treatment [4].


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Upright prairie coneflower is a native [21] warm-season [53] perennial forb [1,27,30,51]. It has one to several stems 12 to 47 inches (0.3-1.2 m) tall [30], often branched in the upper part [24,55]. Leaves are up to 6 inches (15 cm) long [26] and pinnately divided [21]. Flowerheads are borne singly [48] at the ends of naked peduncles [1,26]. The floral disk is columnar, 0.6 to 1.6 inches (1.5-4 cm) long [30], and about 0.4 inches (1 cm) across. The fruit is a small achene [26]; the pappus is reduced to one or two prominent awn-teeth [1,30]. Upright prairie coneflower has a caudex and a stout taproot [26,55] with branch roots [53]. It is an obligate mycotroph [29]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : The most frequent pollinator of upright prairie coneflower in northeastern Kansas is an andrenid bee (Andrena rudbekii) [28]. Requirements for optimum germination of upright prairie coneflower seeds vary. According to research conducted in east-central South Dakota, upright prairie coneflower seeds have an impermeable membrane which completely inhibits germination. Moist-cold stratification produced 11 percent germination. If the seed membrane was punctured with a probe, germination increased to 95-100 percent without stratification. Filled seed constituted 47.5 percent of the seed collected [46]. Upright prairie coneflower seeds from southeastern Montana outlier stands of tallgrass prairie were tested for viability, germination, and seedling vigor. Seeds had good germination over a broad range of temperatures and pretreatments; optimum germination temperatures were 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20-30 deg C). At 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 deg C), 50 percent germination was achieved in 2 days. Seedling survival was excellent [18]. Germination rates of upright prairie coneflower seeds from western North Dakota were tested. Maximum germination occurred with dry cold storage (29%, occurring in January) [4]. Upright prairie coneflower can regrow until seasonal maturity if partially defoliated by mowing or grazing [53]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Upright prairie coneflower grows well on sandy loam, loam, and clayey loam soils [14]. It can also be found growing on thin, rocky, gravelly and sandy soils. It is tolerant of weakly acidic to moderately alkaline soils and weakly saline soils [53]. Optimum soil depth for upright prairie coneflower growth is 20 or more inches (51 cm) [14]. It has low to moderate water requirements [13] and grows in full sun [45]. It is found on dry plains, prairies [21], hillsides [15], and also roadsides, railway grades and other "waste places" [51]. A field survey of minimally disturbed native grassland of the Coastal Sand Plain of south Texas was conducted in May, 1987. Upright prairie coneflower occurred in five of ten sites on dune ridges and well-drained flats, with mean absolute frequency of 14 percent and relative cover of 3 percent. In swales and on moderately drained flats it occurred on only one of five sites, with absolute frequency of 5 percent and trace relative cover [13]. Upright prairie coneflower occurs at the following elevations: Elevation (feet) Elevation (meters) CO 3,500-7,000 1,067-2,134 [27] MT 3,200-5,200 975-1,585 [14] SD 3,600-5,000 1,097-1,524 [44] UT 4,500-8,416 1,372-2,565 [14,55] WY 3,700-8,000 1,128-2,434 [14] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Upright prairie coneflower is listed as an early seral species in southeastern Montana [17]. It shows weak shade tolerance and is usually found on open or exposed sites [53]. After the drought of the 1930's, upright prairie coneflower was particularly common in mixed-grass prairie of the Great Plains as bare areas were colonized. It was one of only five species that showed marked recovery from the drought by 1943 [12]. Upright prairie coneflower was not present on a range site in southwestern North Dakota that had been ungrazed for 39 years. A similar grazed site had an average of 1.3 upright prairie coneflower stems per square meter [7]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Upright prairie coneflower resumes growth in spring [53]. In north-central Texas, it broke dormancy in early March, bloomed in June, and shed seed in July [16]. In southwestern North Dakota, upright prairie coneflower resumed growth in late April, bloomed during the latter part of July, and obtained maximum height by the end of July. Mature height, averaged over 8 years (1955-1962), was 11.3 inches (28.7 cm) [25]. Upright prairie coneflower bloomed an average of 41 days a year in central North Dakota [8]. Upright prairie coneflower flowering times are: Begin Peak End Flowering Flowering Flowering CO June July September [14] KS June July September [28] ND June July August [8] North TX June ---- ---- [16] South TX April ---- ---- [52] UT June ---- August [14] WY July July September [14] Great Plains June ---- September [26] N. Great Plains July ---- September [51]


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Upright prairie coneflower is fire sensitive when actively growing, but has good fire tolerance in the dormant state [53] since it sprouts from the caudex [26,55]. In the central Great Plains tallgrass prairie, upright prairie coneflower was reported to be harmed by fire [57]. Upright prairie coneflower produces numerous small seeds [1] and can establish on burned sites, since it thrives in the open, sunny conditions [45] created by fire. It may be an initial on-site colonizer, but no information was available on presence in the seedbank. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Caudex, growing points in soil Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community) Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Upright prairie coneflower is probably top-killed by fire during the growing season. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Upright prairie coneflower response to fire varies considerably, depending to some extent on geographic area and season of burning. Upright prairie coneflower was studied in tallgrass prairie of northeastern Kansas, where it was abundant. Plants from sites not burned for 9 years or more were 2.6 times larger, produced 50 percent more stems, and had more flowerheads and seeds than did plants from recently burned sites. Reproductive effort (the ratio of inflorescence biomass to total vegetative biomass) was 33 percent lower in annually burned prairie than in prairies with longer fire intervals. However, percent cover and frequency were not significantly different between burned and unburned sites. Variation in upright prairie coneflower response to fire is probably due to changes in its competitive status relative to the dominant perennial grasses and to changes in abiotic conditions after fire [28]. Another study in northeastern Kansas reported that upright prairie coneflower cover was not significantly correlated with years since burning at postfire years 1 to 4 [58]. Upright prairie coneflower was less prevalent on north-central Nebraska sand hills 2 to 3 months after an early May wildfire than on similar unburned sites [56]. Changes in upright prairie coneflower flowering were not significant after May prescribed fires in northwestern Minnesota [40]. A survey of literature on plant response to fire indicates that upright prairie coneflower decreased or showed no change in response to spring fires [35]. Upright prairie coneflower in a south Texas chaparral-bristlegrass (Setaria spp.) community had varying responses to fire. Plots burned in September produced 3 pounds of upright prairie coneflower herbage per acre; plots burned the December of the next year produced 8 pounds per acre; plots burned at both times produced 3 pounds per acre. Unburned plots produced 2 pounds per acre [6]. Percent cover of upright prairie coneflower was 3 percent or less on all burned and unburned plots, some of which were also mechanically treated by shredding, chopping, or scalping [5]. Upright prairie coneflower in tallgrass prairie in northeastern Kansas was burned on different schedules on matched plots. Cover was less than 1 percent on all treatments, burned and unburned. Frequency varied with soil type, fire frequency, and season of burning [23]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Ratibida columnifera
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