Eastern purple coneflower.
Perennial growing to 1.2m by 0.5m . It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. We rate it 2 out of 5 for usefulness. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Habitats and Possible Locations Cultivated Beds.
Edible Uses Leaves. No more details are given.
Medicinal Uses Disclaimer Adaptogen; Alterative; Antiseptic; Aphrodisiac; Depurative; Digestive; Sialagogue.
Echinacea is considered to be the most effective detoxicant in Western herbal medicine for the circulatory, lymphatic and respiratory systems. Its use has also been adopted by Ayurvedic medicine. Plants in this genus were probably the most frequently used of N. American Indian herbal remedies.
They had a very wide range of applications and many of these uses have been confirmed by modern science. This species is the most easily cultivated of the genus and so has been more generally adopted for its medicinal uses.
The plant has a general stimulatory effect on the immune system and is widely used in modern herbal treatments. In Germany over 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea. There has been some doubt over the ability of the body to absorb the medicinally active ingredients orally (intravenous injections being considered the only effective way to administer the plant), but recent research has demonstrated significant absorption from orally administered applications. The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity.
The plant was used by N. American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects. An infusion of the plant was also used to treat snakebites. The root is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue.
It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.
Cultivation details: Prefers a deep rich loam with plenty of leafmold and a sunny position. Succeeds in dry soils and tolerates drought once it is established. Prefers a good light soil. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. Slugs love this plant.
Propagation Seed: sow March/April in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Diurnal temperature fluctuations aid germination. The seed usually germinates in 10 - 21 days at 25°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for the first summer. Plant them out in the late spring or early summer of the following year and give them some protection from slugs at least until they are established.
Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Root cuttings, October in a frame.
Eng.: Sampson root, eastern purple coneflower, black sampson, comb-flower, echinacea, red sunflower. Suom.: Punahattu, auringonhattu. Sven.: Röd rudbeckia, röd solhatt. Bot. syn.: Brauneria purpurea (L.) Britt., Rudbeckia purpurea L.