All in the Downs the fleet was moor’d,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard;
‘O! where shall I my true-love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true
If my sweet William sails among the crew.’
“Black-eyed Susan” by John Gay
Black-eyed Susan, or Rudbeckia, also is known as Brown-Eyed Susan, Brown Betty, Golden Jerusalem, and Poorland Daisy. It is believed to have derived its name from the British poem by John Gay. Black-eyed Susans are in the sunflower family and are native to North America. They often can be seen growing as wildflowers, but we planted ours in our garden.
Native Americans traditionally used Rudbeckia medicinally to treat both humans and horses. The flowers and roots were made into both teas and compresses to treat indigestion, earaches, worms, snakebites, burns and sores.