Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is up to 3' tall and unbranched. The stout central stem is greyish or reddish green and covered with coarse white hairs. Most of the leaves occur near the base of the plant, although a few of them alternate along the lower 1/3 of the stem. They are up to 9" long and 2" across, and narrowly lanceolate, oblanceolate, or ovate. The margins are smooth, but often curl upward, while the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves are covered with fine white hairs. Leaf venation is primarily parallel, although a few fine pinnate veins may be present. A single daisy-like composite flower develops at the top of the stem. It is about 3" across, consisting of a prominent reddish brown cone of disk florets, which are surrounded by 12-20 light purple ray florets. The ray florets are long, slender, and droop downward. There is no noticeable floral scent. The blooming period occurs during early summer and lasts about 3 weeks, after which the ray florets shrivel away and the central cone turns black. The achenes are without tufts of hair. The root system consists of a stout taproot.
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Comments

This plant usually precedes Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in bloom by about 2-4 weeks. Sometimes their flowers are difficult to tell apart, but the leaves of Pale Purple Coneflower are more long and narrow, hairier, lighter green, and tend to remain near the base of the plant. Return
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Description

Pale purple coneflower is a native perennial forb growing to a height of 3 feet with coarse bristly hairs on the stout stems and leaves. The leaves are rough-surfaced, up to 10 inches long and 1 ½ inches wide, and tapering at either end, with several parallel veins running along their lengths. The basal leaves are on long stalks, while the stem leaves are few, and usually lack long stalks. There is a single showy flower head at the top of each stem, with many drooping, pale purple petal-like ray flowers, each up to 3 ½ inches long, surrounding a broad, purplish brown, cone-shaped central disk. Pale purple coneflower flowers in late spring to midsummer.

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Pale Purple Coneflower occurs occasionally throughout Illinois, except in some of the southern counties (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, openings in dry rocky woods, Oak savannas, limestone glades, abandoned fields, and open areas along railroads. It is possible that this plant occurred in gravel or dolomite prairies before these habitats were largely destroyed by development. Faunal Associations
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Echinacea pallida (Nutt.) Nutt.:
China (Asia)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Global Range: Northeastern Texas to Kansas, east to Iowa, Illinois, through central and western Missouri and Arkansas. Irregular east of the Mississippi River. Established as an exotic in several Eastern states (cf. Fernald, 1950).

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Distribution and adaptation

Pale purple coneflower is widely distributed in dry and mesic prairies and open savannas from southeastern Nebraska and north central Iowa south and east to southwestern Arkansas and northwestern Indiana.

For a current distribution map, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants to 140 cm (roots fusiform to narrowly turbinate, usually branched). Herbage sparsely to densely hairy (hairs spreading, ca. 1.5–1.7 mm). Stems green to purplish (rarely branched). Basal leaves: petioles 5–20+ cm; blades (1-), 3-, or 5-nerved, elliptic to lanceolate, 12–40 × 1–4 cm, bases cuneate to attenuate, margins entire (usually ciliate). Peduncles 15–50 cm. Phyllaries lanceolate to ovate, 7–15 × 1–3 mm. Receptacles: paleae 9–14 mm, tips purple, usually incurved, sharp-pointed. Ray corollas pink to reddish purple, laminae reflexed, 40–90 × 3–4 mm, sparsely hairy abaxially. Discs conic to hemispheric, 20–40 × 25–37 mm. Disc corollas 5.5–6.7 mm, lobes usually pink to purple (pollen usually white, rarely lemon yellow). Cypselae tan or bicolored, 2.5–5 mm, faces ± smooth, usually glabrous; pappi to ca. 1 mm (major teeth 0–4). 2n = 22.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Rudbeckia pallida Nuttall, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 7: 77. 1834
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Pale Purple Coneflower occurs occasionally throughout Illinois, except in some of the southern counties (see Distribution Map). Habitats include mesic to dry black soil prairies, openings in dry rocky woods, Oak savannas, limestone glades, abandoned fields, and open areas along railroads. It is possible that this plant occurred in gravel or dolomite prairies before these habitats were largely destroyed by development. Faunal Associations
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Comments: Rocky prairies, savannas, open wooded hillsides, glades, barrens, generally over a limestone substrate. Also occurs along roadsides. Partial to full sun.

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Dispersal

Establishment

Prepare a clean weed free seedbed by disking and harrowing or using chemical weed control. Firm the seedbed by cultipacking. Seedbed should be firm enough to allow seed to be planted 1/8 inch deep. The seed of pale purple coneflower should be dormant seeded for best results, because the seed needs cold moist stratification for two months (60 days) in cold, moist environment (35 - 40 degrees Fahrenheit). This is the usual time required to break dormancy; however, a few require only one month or up to three months.

Pale purple coneflower has 80,000 – 85,000 seeds per pound. Seeding rates for seed production should be about 3 - 5 pounds of pure live seed (PLS) per acre in 36-inch rows

(20 - 30 seeds per row foot). For a solid stand, the seeding rate would be 15 - 20 pounds PLS per acre (30 – 40 seeds per square foot).

For a prairie planting, pale purple coneflower would be a small component of a mixture ranging from 0.1 – 1.0 PLS pound per acre (0.2 – 2 PLS per square foot).

Use no fertilizer the establishment year unless soil test indicates a low deficiency of less than 15 PPM of phosphorus and or less than 90 PPM of potassium. Use no nitrogen during the establishment year as this can encourage weed competition.

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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Pale Purple Coneflower in Illinois

Echinacea pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower)
(Bees collect pollen or suck nectar; beetles feed on nectar or pollen; other insects suck nectar; some observations are from Robertson, otherwise they are from LaBerge, Clinebell, and MacRae as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus auricomus sn, Bombus bimaculatus (Cl), Bombus griseocallis (Cl), Bombus pensylvanica sn (Rb, Cl), Bombus separatus sn, Psithyrus variabilis sn; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina dupla dupla sn cp; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Svastra obliqua obliqua (LB); Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada affabilis sn, Nomada superba superba sn; Anthophoridae (Xylocopini): Xylocopa virginica sn; Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys octodentata sn; Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile brevis brevis sn (Rb, Cl), Megachile mendica sn, Megachile montivaga sn, Megachile pugnatus sn

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon texanus texanus sn cp, Agapostemon virescens sn (Rb, Cl), Augochlorella aurata sn, Augochlorella striata sn, Halictus ligatus sn cp, Halictus rubicunda (Cl), Lasioglossum sp. (Cl), Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn, Lasioglossum pruinosus sn, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena beameri (Cl), Andrena helianthiformis fq cp olg (Cl); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Heterosarus albitarsis sn cp

Wasps
Sphecidae (Sphecinae): Ammophila nigricans

Flies
Tachinidae: Spallanzania hesperidarum

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Chlosyne nycteis, Danaus plexippus, Euptoieta claudia (Cl), Limenitis archippus, Speyeria cybele (Cl), Speyeria idalia fq (Cl), Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa virginiensis (Rb, Cl); Lycaenidae: Lycaena hyllus, Strymon melinus (Cl); Pieridae: Colias eurytheme (Cl), Colias philodice, Pontia protodice; Papilionidae: Papilio polyxenes asterias (Rb, Cl)

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Anatrytone logan (Cl), Epargyreus clarus (Cl), Euphyes vestris (Cl), Polites origenes fq (Cl), Polites peckius, Polites themistocles fq (Rb, Cl), Problema byssus (Cl)

Moths
Sphingidae: Hemaris thysbe

Beetles
Buprestidae: Acmaeodera ornata (McR); Cerambycidae: Typocerus sinuatus fp np; Elateridae: Limonius griseus (Cl)

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Historically abundant, widespread and secure in the central Great Plains; uncommon and probably introduced in the East. Considered native and rare in Tennessee. At present, becoming less common in Kansas. Common in the central and western portions of Missouri, some in Arkansas. Still fairly abundant in Oklahoma.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Echinacea pallida

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Although still fairly abundant in parts of its range in the Great Plains and southern states, Echinacea pallida exhibits a declining trend over the past 30 years. It is threatened by root digging and excessive seed collection, as well as by impacts from road maintenance activities and urbanization in general.

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values). This plant is considered threatened in a couple of states.

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Threats

Comments: Human actual threat: root digging and excessive seed collection. State conservation laws, such as in Missouri, have had some, though not complete, success as deterrents. In Oklahoma, root digging has been a problem in the northeast corner of the state, and has the potential to expand. Other actual human threats include mowing, application of herbicide, road expansion, construction, urbanization in general.

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Pests and potential problems

This species was grown at the Elsberry Plant Materials Center for several years, and during this time there were no apparent pests or potential problems in growing.

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Management

Biological Research Needs: Genetic diversity.

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

According to the publication entitled ‘Improved Conservation Plants Materials Released by NRCS and Cooperators through September 2001’, there are no cultivars, source identified, selected or tested releases of pale purple coneflower from the Plant Materials Program. The origin for these releases was northern, central and southern counties in the state of Iowa.

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Environmental concerns

Pale purple coneflower is not known to invade where this species does not naturally occur.

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Reduce weed competition by mowing over the height of the pale purple coneflower plants or cultivating between the rows. For grassy weed control usage of a post emergence grass herbicide can provide control and will encourage a good stand. Remove dead plant material in the spring for faster green-up by shredding. Burning of dead plant refuge can weaken the plants unless done before it has broken dormancy.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Cultivation

The preference is full sun and average to dry conditions. The soil can contain loam, clay, or rocky material. There is a tendency for Pale Purple Coneflower to flop over when in bloom if it is pampered by too much water or lacks adequate support from adajacent vegetation. It doesn't seem to be bothered much by disease, and withstands drought very well. Development is slow unless ample sunlight is received. This plant can fail to survive the winter if the central taproot is not covered with sufficient soil.
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Uses

Pale purple coneflower can be used for roadside plantings, prairie restoration, wildlife food and cover, prairie landscaping and native gardens.

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Wikipedia

Echinacea pallida

Echinacea pallida (Nutt.), commonly called pale purple coneflower, is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the family Asteraceae. It is sometimes grown in gardens and used for medicinal purposes. Its native range is the south central region of the United States.

Description[edit]

E. pallida is similar to E. angustifolia, but plants often grow taller, ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 ft (45 to 75 cm) tall, with some growing 3 feet (90 cm) or more tall. Plants normally grow with one unbranched stem in the wild, but often produce multi-stemmed clumps in gardens. They have deep taproots that are spindle shaped, wider in the center and narrowing at the ends. Stems are green in color or mottled with purple and green. The leaves are elongated lanceolate or linear-lanceolate in shape with three veins. Flower head rays are narrow, linear, elongated, and drooping, ranging from 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) long. The flower heads are from ¾ to 3 inches (2 to 7.6 cm) wide with pale rose-purple or nearly white colored petals. The flowers have white pollen. The fruits are cypselae and are tan or bi-colored with angled edges.

Habitat and range[edit]

It is native to the United States where it is found growing in dry soils, in rocky prairies, open wooded hillsides, and glades. It grows natively as far north as Michigan and southward into Alabama and Texas, and has been introduced outside of its native range into Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia. E. pallida blooms from May into July.[1] The states of Tennessee and Wisconsin list the species as threatened, mostly due to habitat loss and over-collection of roots, which are made into herbal medicine. The use of Echinacea as a medicinal plant has not been demonstrated to have any positive health effects.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

E. pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower) at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

References[edit]

  • Britton, N., & Brown, A. (1913). An illustrated flora of the Northern United States, Canada from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102nd meridian. [S.l.]: Scribner. ISBN 0-486-22644-1
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Notes

Comments

Echinacea pallida is generally regarded as introduced in Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Generally accepted (e.g., Kartesz, 1994 and 1999). Described in monograph by R. L. McGregor (1968). A common misconception is that the rays of E. pallida are always pale; rays can be a dark pink hue. This species can be difficult to distinguish from E. simulata, with which it intergrades to the east of its range, and from E. sanguinea to its south (See McKeown, K., 1999).

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