Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii (Sullivant's Coneflower) is a target species for conservation and restoration at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County, northeastern Illinois, due to its classification as a Regional Forester's Sensitive Species by the United States Forest Service (USFS; i.e., a species for which population viability is a concern because of a significant current or predicted downward trend in population numbers/density or in habitat capability that would reduce a species' existing distribution). We collected data on the reproductive ecology of this species including its breeding system, seed set, and flower visitors at seven populations in northeastern Illinois from 2002–2004, to support a conservation plan for the species on USFS lands. We found that R. fulgida var. sullivantii is mostly self-incompatible. Percent seed set ranged from 26.1 to 69.5 with the great majority of populations having over 45 percent seed set. Insects from 32 families were identified as flower visitors to R. fulgida var. sullivantii. Six out of seven populations had between 18–22 insect families and one population had 11 insect families as flower visitors. We concluded that the reproductive ecology of Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii is not the leading cause for its decline in northeastern Illinois.
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Vol. 134 • No. 3