PURPLE CONE FLOWER
Thursday, 8:00 AM. 68 degrees F at the ferry dock and on the back porch. Wind variable and calm, the humidity 82%. The barometer is mostly steady, at 30.07". The forecast for the next week is highs 70-80 and clear skies. Summer for sure.
Purple cone flower, Echinacea purpurea, in the Sunflower Family, is an iconic plant of the American tallgrass prairie that has found its way into the hearts and gardens of America and the world. It is tall, strong and quite beautiful, with pink to purple ray flowers and prominent, prickly bronze disk flowers (echinos is ancient Greek for hedgehog). The leaves are stiff and rough. It is probably not truly native north of southern Wisconsin but is certainly hardy much further north.
The roots, indeed most parts, of Echinacea purpurea and related species are strong immune system stimulators, and are much used in herbal medicine and in Native American traditional medicine. It is prescribed extensively in Europe, and especially in Germany, where it has been most researched.
In these days of overuse of antibiotics, Echinacea should probably be used much more for colds, the flue and minor infections. I have used Echinacea for probably 50 years, and always before a plane flight, where the air is recirculated and people are packed together like sardines. One caveat is that users be sure that they are not allergic to the plant, although I would think that to be quite rare. It is easy to find in the drug store. Give it a try.
by Saren Roberts
Purple coneflower spreads her petals, Around a browny head; And hanging heads of soft bluebells, Are like a blanket spread.