As the Woodland Sunflowers and Coneflowers start to fade from the park, Rudbeckia really starts to shine. Brown-eyed Susan’s are part of the largest family of flowers, the Asters or Asteracae. Asteracae is one of the largest families of flowers with an astonishing 33,000 species according to us commoner’s own botanical journal, Wikipedia. For those of us botanically challenged, the Asters are composite flowers. To the more astute and technical botanists we refer to them as DYC’s, or Dammed Yellow Composites, as there are so many flower types in this family almost no one can keep them straight.
If you look carefully at “Susan” you will probably be surprised to learn that her “Brown” eye is actually composed of small disc florets or flowers and they are surrounded by the petals or ray florets, so what appears to be a single flower head is in actuality a “Composite” of many individual flowers. The entire collection of florets is called an inflorescence. As all of these flowers become fertilized, they turn into thousands of seeds called achenes.
So enough of the botany lesson for today. Thanks Wikipedia. Enjoy these pictures or better yet stroll through the Park on the Western Trail from the Bridge at Gallup entrance to The Mitchell Field Bridge and see them for yourself.