(Eastern Purple Coneflower)
Echinacea purpurea, Syn: pallida, Syn: simulata
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright, hairy to smooth perennial. Preferred
habitat is woodland edges,
Leaves are alternate on the stem; consisting of one whole part; stalked; lance-like to egg-shaped; no teeth and no lobes to slightly toothed and tapering to the tip with sides less than equal (acute).
Flowers are at the end of the stem in solitary heads; long flower stalks; symmetrical in form. Disc flowers are bisexual; dark brown to purple; ray flowers are female and numerous; usually more than three inches long. Flowers occur in the summer.
Fruit is achene.
Echinacea has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries. Melvin Gilmore writes that the Northern Plains Indians used it as an antidote for snake bite and other venomous bites and stings and poisonous conditions -- it was employed in the smoke treatment for headache in persons and distemper in horses. In 1871, echinacea emerged on the commercial medicine market, and it continues to be used today to treat bodily infections and diphtheria.