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Coneflowers

Since earliest times, the cone flower has been used for medicinal purposes.

pink coneflower and butterfly

Photo: dbarronoss (flickr)

The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies.

Goldfinches love the seed heads of the American Coneflower, which are native to our prairies and meadowlands.  The most common coneflower is purplish pink with drooping daisy petals and an elevated cone in the center.  The genus name Echinacea, is from the Greek word for “hedgehog” because of the prickly spines on the center cone.

Easy to Grow

This tough perennial is easy to grow in full sun and is drought tolerant.  The plants are from 1 to 3 feet tall with coarse textured leaves and stiff stems.  They grow easily from seeds and often self seed in the garden, though the seedlings will take a year or two to bloom.  Established plants can be divided in the fall or spring and transplant well.

Since earliest times, the cone flower has been used for medicinal purposes, and native Americans and the early colonists used it for such diverse ailments as scurvy, snake bites, and venereal diseases.  In recent times, it has been popular as a natural remedy for colds.

The flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies and, unfortunately, Japanese beetles like them also.  They make a good long lasting cut flower, and like others in the daisy family, are an unpretentious addition to a bouquet.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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