Plants - Native Plants and Wildflowers

Natural selection: Pale purple coneflower

This lovely cultivar has lots of family members that all add gorgeous colour to a summer garden

Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
* Zone 3
* Native to central North America

Long used as a herbal medicine by the Plains Indians, echinacea has only become a common plant in our gardens during the past 25 years, following the introduction of more than 140 splendid new cultivars. The seeds of echinacea plants were first sent to Europe in about 1680 by the ill-fated English clergyman and naturalist John Banister (he died from a gunshot wound shortly thereafter).

The genus contains nine species, all of which are native to central and eastern North America. All echinacea species are drought tolerant once established, and thrive in average garden soil in a full sun location.

Fast fact: The genus name is derived from the Greek echino, meaning “spiny,” referring to echinacea’s central cone. Other garden-worthy species include:

Narrow-leaved purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
* Zone 3
* Native to eastern North America

Yellow coneflower (E. paradoxa)
* Zone 5
* Native to south-central North America

Purple coneflower (E. purpurea)
* Zone 3
* Native to eastern North America

Tennessee coneflower (E. tennesseensis)
* Zone 5
* Native to Tennessee

Want more information on native plants?
Evergreen, a national charity that makes cities more liveable, has a comprehensive Native Plant Database.

Shot on location at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
Seed for these five species is available from Wildflower Farm.


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