Echinacea purperea

Plant for hedgehog flowers, for painkilling medicine, and for Elk Root wisdom!

Hardy from Zones 3-8. Up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

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Anytime we walk past Echinacea in the Autumn, we pluck dried seed heads and scatter them along the way. The purple flowers attract butterflies, bees, goldfinches, and parasitic wasps, so we want them dotting the corridor of Blacks Run. This flowering perennial, often known as Eastern Purple Coneflower, appreciates a wide range of well-drained soil and doesn’t mind occasional dry weather, but Echinacea will avoid the shade to find the light. The plant helps heal damaged land, and damaged bodies too.

Echinacea grows all over the Midwest and East Coast of this continent. It’s one of the most popular plant medicines in the herbal traditions of North America, revered for its detoxifying qualities in circulatory, lymphatic, and respiratory systems. Indigenous tribes frequently use the whole plant for bites and stings, colds and fevers, and to stimulate the immune system. Choctaw medicine calls for it as cough medicine and aid for gastrointestinal pain. Plains nations in the Midwest use it as a painkiller, long ago observing ill Elk seeking out the plant. The traditional name for the plant is Elk Root, but white settlers chose a Greek name meaning “hedgehog,” referring to the spiky central cone. European descendants added Echinacea to feed for sick cows and horses, harkening back to the bodily wisdom of the Elk and the knowledge of those who paid attention.

We propagate our Echinacea from seed and root divisions.