Eastern Purple Coneflower

Common Name: Eastern Purple Coneflower.

Scientific Name: Echinacea Purpurea.

What to look for?  Purple! Tall! The Eastern Purple Coneflower is a perennial plant that is 3 – 4 feet tall. The plant’s showy daisy-like purple coneflowers bloom throughout summer atop stiff stems clad with coarse, ovate to broad-lanceolate, dark green leaves. The flowers are single on end of stout stem, with 15 to 20 rich purplish rays (petals), each 1 to 3 inches long and ¼ to ¾ inch wide. These purple rays grow out and up, but curve down with maturity. In the center is a large, round, orange-brown disk, covered in tiny disk flowers with yellow pollen. The Eastern Purple Coneflower sits on a light green stem. The leaf arrangement is alternating. The leaves are up to 6" long and 3" across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stems. The leaves are ovate in shape.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? You can find the Eastern Purple Coneflower around the upper banks of Carillon Stonegate Pond and the fields adjacent to the woodlands.

How big are they? Eastern Purple Coneflowers are approximately 2 - 4' tall. Their leaves are approximately 5" long and 3" across, And the purple flowers are approximately 1 - 3" long.

Where do they grow and thrive? Eastern Purple Coneflowers can be found throughout most of the eastern and central United States. It can be found as far west as Colorado and north to Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York. It is not present in the extreme north east, and becomes increasingly rare as its range extends westward, past Missouri. Here, in Illinois, the native Eastern Purple Coneflower occurs primarily in the central and northeast sections of the state. Purple Coneflowers thrive best in fields, prairies, or dry open woodlands.

When do they bloom? The blooming period begins in mid-summer and lasts about a month, after which there is a temporary dormancy. Later, some plants may bloom again during the early fall.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? Eastern Purple Coneflower will attract insects and butterflies when in bloom. And, in the fall around Carillon Stonegate Pond, you will find American Goldfinches and other song birds feeding on its seed.

Interesting Facts About the Eastern Purple Coneflower:

  • Eastern Purple Coneflower is a medicinal plant whose flowers can be used to make a tea that strengthens the immune system.

  • There are more than 200 medicines derived from Echinacea Purpurea (Eastern Purple Coneflower) extract.

For more information on the Eastern Purple Coneflower and sources of information used in this blog (these are the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, University of Texas Wildflower Center and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.

 

Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!