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Do you grow Ratibida columnifera?

I recently received a request from Dr. Matthew Chappell, UGA’s Associate Professor and Statewide Extension Specialist (Nursery Crops). He explained that Texas A&M has frequently partnered with UGA on native plant projects. They currently have a student project for which they need our help.

                The PhD student Kaitlin Hopkins along with Dr. Michael Arnold and Dr. Charlie Hall would be more than pleased to gain the assistance of your members in our recent research venture. We are working on collecting germplasm for the wildflower species Ratibida columnifera, commonly known as Mexican hat or prairie coneflower. This wildflower exhibits a great deal of genetic variation and therefore has great potential for eventual commercialization. We are currently gathering seed of as wide of a variety as we can to characterize the potential degree of variation in floral and vegetative characteristics from around the species’ large native range. Observed flower color ranges from solid yellow to nearly solid maroon, with many variations between. We hope to access germplasm from across the state of Texas and from other states within the natural population range. We have received collections from Central Texas, South Texas, and Nebraska.

If you wish to contribute by collecting seed, please record the following data:

  • Give the collection a numerical code
  • Date collected
  • Latitude and longitude of site
  • Physical description of site (EX: on corner of 123 University road and HWY 6, full sun on a hillside)
  • Notes describing why the plant was chosen for collection (EX: Flower had double petals, dark red with yellow outline on petals, dense vigorous foliage)
  • Photo of flower if possible.

Please enclose seed separately for each collection in a fully sealed paper envelope mail via conventional mail. We will be happy to reimburse mailing costs if needed.  Please send samples to and mail to:

Attention: Kaitlin Hopkins

Texas A & M University

Dept. of Horticultural Sciences

2133 TAMU

College Station, TX 77843-2133


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About sdorn

Sheri is the State Coordinator for the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program and Extension Specialist for Consumer Ornamentals. When she is not traveling about the state of Georgia admiring the work of Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, she spends time in her own (real and virtual) gardens.