Perennials, 50-300 cm (rhizomes often elongate, slender, plants colonial, roots fibrous). Leaves green, blades broadly ovate to lanceolate, all but distalmost 1-2-pinnatifid or pinnately compound, leaflets/lobes 3-11, bases cuneate to attenuate or cordate, margins entire or dentate, apices acute to acuminate, faces glabrous or hairy (sometimes with translucent patches); basal (often withering before flowering) petiolate, 15-50 × 10-25 cm; cauline petiolate or sessile, mostly lobed to pinnatifid, sometimes not lobed, 8-40 × 3-20 cm. Heads (2-25) in loose, corymbiform arrays. Phyllaries to 2 cm (8-15, ovate to lanceolate, margins mostly ciliate, glabrous or hairy). Receptacles hemispheric or ovoid to globose; paleae 3-7 mm, apices (at least of proximal) truncate or rounded, abaxial tips densely hairy. Ray florets 8-12; laminae elliptic to oblanceolate, 15-50 × 4-14 mm, abaxially hairy. Discs 9-30 × 10-23 mm. Disc florets 150-300+; corollas yellow to yellowish green (lobes yellow), 3.5-5 mm; style branches 1-1.5 mm, apices acute to rounded. Cypselae 3-4.5 mm; pappi coroniform or of 4 scales, to 1.5 mm. Cultivars of Rudbeckia laciniata are grown as ornamentals. The cultivar `golden-glow´ is widely planted and occasionally escapes cultivation. Among the varieties traditionally recognized in floristic treatments, vars. ampla and heterophylla are the most distinctive. Detailed investigation may show that the other varieties, from eastern North America, represent broadly intergrading forms that should be subsumed under var. laciniata.