Description of Plant:
Echinacea species are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing up to (140 cm or up to 4 feet) in height. They have erect stems that in most species are unbranched. The leaves are normally hairy with a rough texture. The flowers are collected together into single rounded heads that terminate long peduncles. The flower heads have typically 200-300 fertile, bisexual disc florets. Plants are generally long lived, with distinctive flowers. The common name “cone flower” comes from the characteristic center “cone” at the center of the flower. The generic name Echinacea is rooted in the Greek word ἐχῖνος (echinos), meaning sea urchin, it references the spiky appearance and feel of the flower heads. Echinacea plants also reseed in the fall. New flowers will grow where seeds have fallen from the prior year.
Habitat & Elevation:
- Echinacea is endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas
- Some Native American tribes did use echinacea to treat some of the symptoms that could be caused by the common cold: The Kiowa used it for coughs and sore throats, the Cheyenne for sore throats, the Pawnee for headaches, and many tribes including the Lakotah used it as an analgesic.