No one knows who Susan was, but the flower is linked with “Sweet William” in an old English rhyme. This species was long thought to be native only to our midwest, spreading to both coasts after colonists and western pioneers felled the forests to allow the highly-prolific seed to spread. But recent research proves Black-Eyed Susan was indeed seen as far east as Maryland in early colonial times. There are many species of rudbeckia, many which have been hybridized into some of our most valued garden perennials. For related perennial species, see R. gloriosa.