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Are Black Eyed Susans Edible? Learn Benefits & Side Effects

Are Black Eyed Susans edible? Beyond their mesmerizing beauty, can this charming wildflower serve as food?

Historical sources claim that parts of the Black Eyed Susans are edible for medicinal purposes, but consuming a large amount of plant may release poisonous compounds, causing intestinal discomfort or allergic reactions.

Let us explore the fascinating world of Black Eyed Susans and their potential applications.

Are Black Eyed Susans Edible?

Did you know Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are native to North America?

However. they have been introduced and cultivated worldwide since James Vick first developed them in the 1800s.

The daisy-like flowers with bright yellow petals and dark center make them a popular food for pollinators, but human consumption.

Image represents yellow flowers of Black-Eyed Susan
Black-Eyed Susan displays a yellow flowerhead with a dark center, which attracts pollinators.

Many new gardeners wonder whether they can consume the whole or parts of their Black-Eyed Susan like they would for Lotus flowers.

Although Black-Eyed Susan is generally safe, it is not usually consumed due to its bitter taste and risk of poisoning.

Some reported poisons found in Black-Eyed Susan include:

Pyrrolizidine alkaloidAffect the nervous system and other bodily functions.
SaponinsCause irritation and gastrointestinal disturbances.
Sesquiterpene LactonesCauses skin irritation and allergic reactions in sensitive individuals upon contact.
Cardiac GlycosidesCause irregular heartbeats or other cardiovascular effects.

Remember, we do not recommend Black-Eyed Susan in any form for consumption.

These wildflowers boast a rich history of traditional medicines. For the moment, no scientific study supports the traditional uses of Black-Eyed Susan.

What are the Uses of Black-Eyed Susan?

Black-Eyed Susan provides mainly ornamental and medicinal applications.

1. Decoration in the Garden

You can grow Black Eyed Susans for decoration, as these flowers make your garden more vibrant and colorful.

These wildflowers bloom throughout spring and summer with striking yellow flower heads, adding depth to your garden.

Beyond their visual appeal, Black-Eyed Susan invites pollinators to ensure a healthy garden.

Popular pollinators like bees, butterflies, and ladybugs contribute to the ecological balance of the garden.

2. Medicinal Purpose

Many Native American tribes used Black-Eyed Susan’s flowers, leaves, and roots to prepare traditional medicine.

The Highline Public Park Program reported that the Chippewa tribe used the plant roots to treat snakebites and parasitic worms.

On the other hand, the Menominee and Potawatomi tribes took the plant as a water pill to treat urinary tract problems.

black-eyed susan edible
The Black-Eyed Susan plant will bloom with multiple flowers throughout July until August.

Other potential uses include treating colds and edema in children. However, talk to your physician before using the plant for medicinal consumption.

Can Black-Eyed Susan Cause Poisoning in Pets?

Black-Eyed Susan contains a small number of poisonous compounds like Alkaloids, Sesquiterpene lactones, and Saponins.

Consuming a small amount of Black-Eyed Susan is safe, but eating a large amount may cause mild gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions.

Dogs and cats after eating Black-Eyed Susan flowers or leaves may show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, dermatitis, drooling, and mild stomach upset afterward.

If you think your pet has eaten a large amount of Black-Eyed Susan plant, immediately contact your veterinarian for advice.

Alternatively, you can Pet Poison Helpline at 1 (855) 764-7661 for DIY pet poisoning treatments.

From Editorial Team


Ensure your Black-Eyed Susan plants are healthy and flowering vigorously by providing at least six to eight hours of sunlight with well-draining, loamy soil for healthy growth.

Do not forget to water about an inch weekly and fertilize using balanced or slow-release plant food once in the growing season.

However, avoid consuming raw, dried, infused, and cooked flowers to avoid the risk of accidental poisoning.