As I wrote yesterday's blog about my mother's yellow perennial, something didn't feel right. I had thought for years that this flower was Rudbeckia laciniata. But, I couldn't remember why I thought that. However, when I looked up that botanical name, I came up with photographs that showed a brown center to almost all the flowers. There was one that looked like Mother's, but I couldn't see the foliage to verify it.
So, I took out the DVD of Episode 102 of HGTV's A Gardener's Diary, where an identical plant is discussed in a Tennessee garden. Before I saw that footage in 1994, I had never seen another plant like Mother's. I never would have dreamed it could be a rudbeckia (I always think of black-eyed Susans, with some sort of dark or green "eye" in a yellow daisy-like configuration).
In the show, the host indicates that this is a heliopsis. Sure enough, I looked up images of heliopsis and found an identical flower. So, why was Rudbeckia laciniata lurking in the back of my mind? Yesterday, before I looked at the episode, I had thought I'd remembered that it had been identified as such by the show's host and the gardener. No, they said, it was a heliopsis.
So, I went with that, still wondering where I had gotten the idea that it was Rudbeckia laciniata. I had been mistaken, I concluded, and went on writing, identifying the plant as likely some form of Heliopsis helianthoides
This morning, I received this post:
"I think it is possible that your mother's yellow flowers are Rudbeckia laciniata or cutleaf coneflowers — a double variety, possibly ‘Goldquelle,’ ‘Hortensia,’ or ‘Goldenglow.’
This 3′ to 5′ rudbeckia — usually seen with single coneflower blooms — is native to eastern North America. A double variety appeared in 1897 and became popular as an “outhouse flower,” planted to shield privies from view. I have a number of them in my garden here in Rwanda, an import by some previous occupant."