Garden Diary: Echinacea Purpurea

August 4 2014, 11:46am

A new Echinacea plant at Carlton Hobbs. A new arrival in our garden at 60 East 93rd Street is the eastern purple coneflower or Echinacea purpurea, a hearty herbaceous perennial that thrives in full sun to partial shade and does well in a range of soil conditions. They require very little maintenance, and once established can even tolerate drought conditions. As the name indicates (echinos is Greek for “hedgehog” or “sea urchin”), Echinacea flowers have a distinctive spiky cone at their center which is surrounded by purple daisy-like petals. An Echinacea flower. The abundant blooms, which last from Spring through late Summer, attract bees and butterflies, and the seeds are a favorite of many songbirds, including gold finches. During fall and winter months, the dried coneflower seed heads provide the birds with a much needed food source. Two bees enjoying the Echinacea at Carlton Hobbs The Echinacea plant has been cherished for its medicinal properties for centuries.  Native Americans used  Echinacea to treat more ailments than nearly any other plant.  Some of its uses included chewing the root to alleviate tooth aches, soar throats, and coughs and burning parts of the plant to reduce headaches. Caroline is not in need of any headache remedy. She is quite relaxed spending the day out lying in the garden! Carolina.