E is for Echinacea, possibly the most used medicinal herb/flower in the world. Recently the Daily Mail in England did an article on the efficacy of echinacea as a cold remedy. And the University of Maryland has a lot of information about the medicinal properties of echinacea here
But even if you are not interesting in growing echinacea, otherwise known as coneflower , is a wonderful plant for the perennial border. For years I only knew it in it’s native pink form, purpurea, or the white form. I knew it was a wonderful plant to support all the pollinatores that are so important to gardeners, farmers and those who are concerned about supporting the food web for birds and other creatures. You can see that the prominent seed head in the center of the flower makes it easy for pollinaators to get to work.
Nowadays, you can find echinacea in many colors and forms. This might be ‘Leilani’, or ‘Harvest Moon.” There are now also red echinaceas like ‘Twilight’, ‘Tomato Soup’ abd ‘Firebird.’ All of these still have the prominent seed head so I imagine they are still useful for pollinators.
But now there are shaggy echinaceas like ‘Hot Papaya.” I don’t think the pollinators are going to have much luck here. The shaggy pink ‘Secret Passion’ listed in my Bluestone Perennials catalog doesn’t look like it would be helpful either.