• Echinacea pallida - Pale Purple Coneflower

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    "The Pale Purple Coneflower is a herbaceous perennial of the genus Echinacea. They are native to North America, and there are nine known species of Echinacea.  Echinos is Greek for "hedgehog" or "sea urchin" which is reflective of the plants spiny center cone.  Pallida is Latin and translated means "pale."  This is in reference to their petal color which is a pale pink-purple.  

    The plant grows to about 3 feet (0.91 m) tall and has stout, erect, hairy stem which is green to purple.  The tap root is chocolate brown to black in color with very little branching.  The leaves are simple, lanceolate, alternate, hairy, and rough on both sides.  Most of the leaves are at the lower 1/3 of the stem. The flower blooms early in June to late July and is present for about 3 weeks. There are 12-20 long, slender, pale, drooping pink to purple petal/rays.  In the center of the flower is a domed reddish brown center disk of florets with white pollen." (North Carolina Extension)


    Echinacea Pallida Botany by Dr. John Hilty

    Aster family (Asteraceae)




    Cultivation: 

    "The preference is full sun and average to dry conditions. The soil can contain loam, clay, or rocky material. There is a tendency for Pale Purple Coneflower to flop over when in bloom if it is pampered by too much water or lacks adequate support from adjacent vegetation. It doesn't seem to be bothered much by disease, and withstands drought very well. Development is slow unless ample sunlight is received. This plant can fail to survive the winter if the central taproot is not covered with sufficient soil." (Hilty)




    Faunal Associations: 

    "Long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers are the most important visitors to the flowers. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, Nomadine cuckoo bees, large carpenter bees, and leaf-cutting bees. Short-tongued green metallic bees and other Halictine bees also visit the flowers occasionally. The caterpillars of the butterfly Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) feed on the foliage, while caterpillars of the moths Synchlora aerata (Wavy-Lined Emerald) and Eupithecia miserulata (Common Eupithecia) feed on the flowerheads. Goldfinches occasionally eat the seeds. Mammalian herbivores, particularly livestock, may eat this plant occasionally, but it is not a preferred food source." (Hilty)


    Ethnobotany:

    "Echinacea was first used by Native Americans for treatment of insect stings and bites as well as snake bites. 

    "Currently, Echinacea is used to prevent colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections.  It has also been proven to boost the immune system and treat urinary tract infections. Echinacea preparations can also be topically applied for wounds or skin problems. The roots and whole plant possess a cortisone-like antibacterial property."

    (North Carolina Extension)






    Covers

    1. "Echinacea pallida" By Eric Hunt - Own work, is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79097113
    2. "Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)" by wackybadger is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
    3. "Echinacea pallida Cv.Prairia's Beauty" By Oris2012 - Own work, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22438715

    North Carolina Extension plant description and ethnobotany: Echinacea Pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/echinacea-pallida/. Accessed 2 Feb. 2022.

    John Hilty botany, cultivation and faunal associations: John Hilty, "Pale Purple Coneflower", Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 2 February 2022

    Pale Purple Coneflower in field: "Echinacea pallida, Asteraceae, Pale Purple Cone-flower, habitus By H. Zell - Own work, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9855440

    Botanical illustration: "Echinacea pallida" by USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 3: 476.


    Information and images compiled by Erik N. Vegeto

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