Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower or purple coneflower) is a species of flowering plant in the genus Echinacea of the family Asteraceae. Its cone-shaped flowering heads are usually, but not always, purple in the wild. It is native to eastern North America and present to some extent in the wild in much of the eastern, southeastern and midwest United States.
This herbaceous perennial is 120 cm (47 in) tall by 50 cm (20 in) wide at maturity. Depending on the climate, it blooms throughout spring and summer. Its individual flowers (florets) within the flower head are hermaphroditic, having both male and female organs on each flower. It is pollinated by butterflies and bees. Its habitats include dry open woods, prairies and barrens, as well as cultivated beds. Although the plant prefers loamy or sandy, well-drained soils, it is little affected by the soil's pH.
E. purpurea is also grown as an ornamental plant, and numerous cultivars have been developed for flower quality and plant form. Unable to grow in the shade, it thrives in either dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought once established. The cultivar 'Ruby Giant'following has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
It can be propagated either vegetatively or from seeds. Useful vegetative techniques include division, root cuttings, and basal cuttings. Clumps can be divided, or broken into smaller bunches, which is normally done in the spring or autumn. Cuttings made from roots that are "pencil-sized" will develop into plants when started in late autumn or early winter. Cuttings of basal shoots in the spring may be rooted when treated with rooting hormones.
Seed germination occurs best with daily temperature fluctuations or after stratification, which help to end dormancy. Seeds may be started indoors in advance of the growing season or outdoors after the growing season has started.
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