What a fun little flower these are! Commonly known as a coneflower, the scientific name is derived from the Greek word for hedgehog, echinos, due to its prickly center. How fun is that?
Part of the daisy family it is also considered a type of herb and is used to treat common colds, earaches and is thought to boost the immune system. According to one ethnobotanist the cone flower, native to North America, is probably used as a remedy for more ailments than any other plant. Native Americans (specifically the Cheyenne, Choctaw and Kiowa) used it as a natural cough medicine and to treat sore throats by chewing on the root. The Dakotas would scrap the root and use it to treat snake bites while the Delaware tribe would actually use it to treat venereal disease. Skin conditions, infected wounds, and even toothaches were treated with parts of the echinacea plant.
Today it is most often used as a tea or taken in some other form of herbal supplement. With the advancement of modern medicine it has fallen out of favor with much of the medical community but has enjoyed a bit of a comeback within the last decade with the more natural remedy crowd.
It is a beautiful and dramatic addition to your garden and a big bonus is that bees and butterflies love them too. They also make for a lovely cut flower. They photograph beautifully and tomorrow I will share some “portraits” I enjoyed taking of mine 🙂