Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench. - Purple Cone Flower

Echinacea purpurea plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To -2m tall, herbaceous, hirsute to sparsely pubescent, branching.

Echinacea purpurea stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, 1.5-5 times longer than broad, to +10cm broad, lanceolate to ovate, serrate, very sparsely pubescent to pubescent, reduced towards apex of stem and becoming sessile. Base of blades abrupt to the petiole.

Inflorescence - Single flower head terminating stem.

Involucre - Imbricate. Phyllaries lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, recurving and merging with receptacle chaff.

Echinacea purpurea involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - Ligules pinkish-purple, to 8cm long, spreading at first and then slightly reflexed, slightly notched (toothed) at apex.

Disk flowers - Corolla tubular, to 6mm long, deep red to purplish-brown. Achenes to -5mm long. Pappus a small toothed crown. Receptacle conic, with chaff equaling or longer than disk florets.

Echinacea purpurea flowers

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Open woodland, low woods.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - The genus is actually named for a small, spiny, omnivorous mammal of Europe, Asia and Africa called the "Hedgehog" (Erinaceus sp.). The spines of the hedgehog are reminiscent of the receptacle chaff of the plants.
This is a very popular plant for gardening and for medicinal purposes. It grows well from seed and is found in many commercial seed mixes.
Typical plants have purple ray ligules. Plants with white rays can be found in cultivation and very rarely in the wild.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 7-10-02.