Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is important perennial medicinal herb and native to North America, where the dried, powdered root was used by the Plains Indians as an antibiotic to cure rabies, snakebite and septicaemia. Purple Coneflower has traditionally been used to treat or prevent colds, flu, and other infections.
Today it is used in homeopathic medicine and is thought to have beneficial effects, boosting the immune system. With their petals radiating from a prominent centre, coneflowers are rather like giant daisies, to which family they belong. The name comes from the Greek word echinops ('hedgehog'), an allusion to the bristles on the bracts of the flowers.
Description of the plant
Height and spread - 30-60 cm by 23 cm
Flowers - Purple-pink daisy-like flowers with a prominent golden-brown cone-shaped centre. Echinacea is hermaphroditic, meaning it has both male and female organs on each flower. Blooming period: June-October
Foliage - Dull green, oval, toothed hairy basal leaves and long lance-shaped, toothed stem leaves. The stems are green tinted with red.
Soil - Fertile, well drained, moisture retentive.
Site - Sun or partial shade.
Propagation - Sow seed in spring at 55*F. Divide in spring or take root cuttings in late autumn.
Miscellaneous - An excellent variety for cut flower arrangements with a vase life of 5 to 7 days. Propagation from root cuttings is reliable if performed in the fall.
Therapeutic properties - Anesthetic (local), antiallergenic, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory (local, systemic), antimicrobial (bacterial, viral), antineoplastic, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antitoxic, antiulcerogenic, appetite stimulant, depurative, diaphoretic, febrifuge, immune stimulant, lymphatic, sialagogue, PVD (peripheral vasodilator).