Uninvited Tall Plant with Lobed Basal Leaves

(Question)

This plant has shown up in my garden , starting last year. It grows in a clump like an echinacea. Stands about 24-30″ tall.

What is it and should I let it stay?

(Answer)

It is difficult to identify this plant without its flower.  We believe it is a native perennial that is sometime found in the wild, called cut-leaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata).   This cone flower is related to the black-eyed Susan and to echinacea.  It has large lobed leaves on the lower part of the stems, and the  leaves become smaller and single unlobed as they ascend the stem.  Plants can create colonies from long, spreading rhizomes.  Flowers are bright yellow with green turning to brown centres.  The plant may reach up to 100cm and blooms in summer through to fall.  They may spread if well situated (full sun and sufficient moisture). Likely they will require staking, and if happy, you may need to control its spread.  If you have room and a spot in full sun, they can be a real show stopper late in the season.

If your clump did not bloom last fall, it may need to be placed in a sunnier spot. If it does not have a yellow flower with brown centres, please take a photo of the flower together with the leaves at time of flowering and repost your question.

You might find this site interesting:

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=m200