Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 7, Issue 5
   August 2012
 
   Interesting Reads
 

Excerpt from American Agriculturist, Volume 39, 1880

The Purple Cone-Flower

  The Purple Cone-Flower (Echinacea purpurea).
  The Purple Cone-Flower

Much nonsense has been written about prairie flowers. The majority of the flowers of our western prairies are coarse and belong mostly to the Family of the Sunflower and, like that, are in a large majority yellow. Most of the Cone-flowers (Rudbeckia) are yellow, but there are two purple ones separated from Rudbeckia and placed in a separate genus, Echinacea, a name which has reference to the hedge-hog character of the disk of the flower.

The engraving shows the flower of nearly natural size; the center of the flower at first is rounded, but soon becomes pyramidal and pointed. This portion is of a dark maroon color, while the rays are of a light rose purple. The general aspect of the plant is that of the Rudbeckias. It forms a very ornamental plant in cultivation, but on account of its large size, growing to the height of four feet or more, is only suited to wide borders. A clump standing by itself is very effective. It blooms in July and continues through the summer.

The species here figured, is the E. purpurea; there is another and a narrower-leaved species, both being found in the Western and Southwestern States. Under the name of "Black Sampson" the root is used by the herb doctors, but it is not employed in regular practice. Like many other perennials, this, in order to produce the best effect, should be undisturbed for several years. In rich soil it will soon make a strong and vigorous clump, and may stand by itself or be combined with other tall growing plants of similar character, and produce a very pleasing effect.

 
     
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