39 Echinacea purpureaCommon Names: purple coneflower Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
Purple coneflower is a showy, clump forming herbaceous perennial that dies to the ground in winter and sprouts back in spring. Established clumps can be up to 3 ft (0.6 m) in diameter and just as tall. The dark green leaves are coarse and sandpapery, usually lance shaped, and 3-8 in (7.6-20.3 cm) long. The daisylike flower heads, up to 3 in (7.5 cm) across, are very attractive with rose purple rays and large, cone-shaped purple brown centers. Several cultivars are available to the gardener, including some with white ray flowers.
Native to North America, from Ohio to Iowa and south to Louisiana and Georgia, where it was a part of the original prairie community.
CultureIn some areas, Japanese beetles can be a problem; otherwise diseases and pests are nonexistent. Light: Does best in full sun, but will tolerate partial sun. Moisture: Drought tolerant. Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 - 9. Propagation: By seeds or division of roots.
Use in beds, mixed borders, or in the native wildflower patch. The long lasting flowers, borne on long, stiff stems, are perfect in cut flower arrangements and well suited for drying.
Taken orally, extracts from purple coneflower roots and leaves are reported to stimulate the immune system and increase resistance to infections. Native Americans used echinacea for many medicinal purposes. In Europe today, more than 200 pharmaceutical products are made from the extracts. Butterflies sip nectar from purple coneflowers all summer long.
Steve Christman 08/18/97; updated 9/19/03, 7/9/04, 6/9/11