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Home & Lifestyle > Gardening > Plants Info

Coneflower - Echinacea

Echinacea is a genus consisting of nine species of flowering plants in the Family Asteraceae, all native to eastern North America, and often known as the purple coneflower.

Identifying Coneflowers

The genus name is from the Greek echino, meaning "spiny", due to the spiny central disk. They are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing to 1 or 2 m in height. The leaves are lanceolate to elliptic, 10-20 cm long and 1.5-10 cm broad. Like all Asteraceae, the flowers are a composite inflorescence, with purple (rarely yellow or white) florets arranged in a prominent, somewhat cone-shaped head; "cone-shaped" because the petals of the outer ray florets tend to point downward (are reflexed) once the flower head opens, thus forming a cone.


Echinacea is an herb native to prairie habitats in the United States. Some species of Echinacea, notably P. purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida, are grown as ornamental plants in gardens. They tolerate a wide variety of conditions, maintain attractive foliage throughout the season, and multiply rapidly. Appropriate species are used in prairie restorations. Some species are used by domestic stock for forage; an abundance of these plants on rangeland purportedly indicates "good health".

Species of Coneflower:

The species of Echinacea are:

  • Echinacea angustifolia - Narrow-leaf Coneflower
  • Echinacea atrorubens - Topeka Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea laevigata - Smooth Coneflower, Smooth Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea pallida - Pale Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea paradoxa - Yellow Coneflower, Bush's Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea purpurea - Purple Coneflower, Eastern Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea singuinea - Singuine Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea simulata - Wavyleaf Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea tennesseensis - Tennessee Coneflower

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