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.
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Love ours. We will plant anything that seeds the birds and comes back next year… And looking so nice isn’t bad either.
Bryan – Echinacea is a great plant on all counts.
Great post! I’m going to be starting a medicinal herb gardening this year (DV) and I’ll have to include Echinacea in it.
I so want that Hot Papaya – do you know where I can find it?
I have you on my Google reader now!
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Laura – Echinacea is a basic medicinal herb. Check out my coltsfoot post. and checkout the http://goldthreadapothecary.com/?p=home which has a farm to pharmacy program. You’ll be fascinated.
Tami – Bluestone Perennials has a whole bunch of echinaceas.
I just love Coneflowers. I have all different ones and they are some of the first flowers to come out of dormancy in the spring. Even the “fluffy” ones are bird magnets once their petals fall off. I like to leave some of them up in winter for the birds.
I have seen this flower but didn’t know it could be used for healing. I am going to have to remember it, it might come in handy in my writing.
One of my favorite flowers. Your pictures are lovely.
Christy – I am glad to hear the fluffy echinaceas are also popular with birds.
Jack – all kinds of odd information is useful to writers. I know.
Denise – Thanks for the kind words. The flowers are wonderful. And easy.
All the different “flavors” of echinacea are so tempting, but I’ve never had much luck with anything other than Magnus. It’s still the best of the lot, at least down south.
What gorgeous pictures! For some reason I had never planted echinacea until this year. I don’t know why I had overlooked them before because I love having medicinal plants in the garden. I think I was probably perseverating over roses for too many years!!
Don’t forget coneflowers are tough as nails. Last summer’s bad drought and one of the hottest summers ever for us in Chicago land and my barely watered coneflower still bloomed till their hearts content