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Black samson

Echinacea purpurea

Hedgehog cone flower, Purple coneflower, Purple daisy, Eastern purple coneflower, Coneflower

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Echinacea purpurea is widely renowned as a medicinal plant. The genus Echinacea is named after the Greek word for hedgehog, echinos, because of the prickly centre of the flower. The pretty, daisy-like purple-pink flowers are attractive to butterflies and other pollinating wildlife, they are produced singly and individual flowers measure approximately 12cm in diameter. Flowers consist of purple-pink ray florets and brown central disc florets. Commonly known as coneflower, this species is a long-flowering perennial that is well-placed in borders. To encouraged delayed blooming for autumn, cut plants back by half in early summer.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Harvest flowers and leaves throughout the summer months and plant roots during autumn. Cut flowers in the plants 2nd year, strip leaves & flower heads & spread to dry. Store the dried coneflowers & leaves in a sealed container in a cool, dark & dry place until use.

Propagation

Seed
Sow in Spring and Summer with a spacing between 30 - 40 cm. Sow about 6 - 8 mm deep and it will germinate in 14 - 21 days.
Cuttings
Make root cuttings in late autumn or early winter.
Division
Divide the root ball during domancy or as it start to send up shoots, but they resent a lot of disturbance.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Attracts insects like bees and butterflies.
Crop rotation
Light feeder

Geography

Origin
North America.
Natural climate
Warm to hot with cold winters

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Dry
Soil type
Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral, Acid, Alkaline
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
Alleviates skin rashes and boost the immune system - effective against colds and flu. Promoters of Echinacea say that the herb encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and some other illnesses, infections, and conditions.
Notes
This late summer flower suits informal borders in cottage/wildlife friendly or prairie gardens.

Personality

Family
Asteraceae
Flower colour
Light to darker pinks, white, red and purple., Pink, Orange, Bicolour, Purples, White
Scent
Mild

Problems

Pests include leaf miners and weevils (on leaves). Powdery mildew, Bacterial leaf spots, Aster Yellows is transmitted to the plant as leaf hoppers feed on the plant (affecting the flower,stunting its growth) can be avoided by planting flowers in a well ventilated area with good air flow. Severely infected plants should be discarded.

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