Pinnate prairie coneflower/Yellow coneflower

Ratibida pinnata (Vent.) Barnh.

Family: Asteraceae (aster)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Mid-Season,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
    • Partial,
  • Region:
    • Northern Lower Peninsula,
    • Southern Lower Peninsula,
    • Upper Peninsula
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Medium,
  • Height:
    • 3-5ft

Natural enemies attracted

Moderately attractive: Chalcidoidea, Orius insidiousus, and Thomisidae.

Mildly attractive: Empididae, Syrphidae, Salticidae, Nabidae, Dolichopodidae, Chlamydatus associatus, Aeolothripidae, Chrysopidae, Braconidae, Cynipoidea and Plagiognathus politus.

Pollinators attracted

Moderately attractive: bees including sweat bees, digger bees, cuckoo bees, small and large carpenter bees, and bumble bees.

Pests attracted

Highly attractive: lygus bugs.

Moderately attractive: leafhoppers.

Mildly attractive: thrips, leaf beetles, Japanese beetles, aphids, froghoppers and tephritid fruit flies.

Plant notes

Flowers have yellow petals (ray flowers) that stretch below the dark flower center on stalks 3-5 ft tall. This species bloomed from late July through mid- August. Some individual plants established well, others didn?t; plants filled in completely by the second season in the field, with thin, pinnate leaves on the plant. This species was the fourth most attractive mid season plants, with more than two times more natural enemies than in the grass control.


This plant tolerates full sun to partial shade, and mid-range soil moisture; neither very wet nor very dry. It is naturally occurring in full sun in wet meadows and thickets, in floodplains, along river banks, and borders of woods.

Cultivation and management

This coneflower is easily grown from seed, flowering in the second or third year. It also can be grown from plug material with flowering in the first or second year. The deer browsed a lot on this species. Its seed heads attract birds.