Echinacea purpurea [eastern purple coneflower or purple coneflower] is a species of flowering plant in the genus Echinacea of the family Asteraceae. Its cone-shaped flowering heads are usually, but not always, purple in the wild. It is native to eastern North America and present to some extent in the wild in much of the eastern, southeastern and midwest United States.
This herbaceous perennial is 120 cm [47 in] tall by 50 cm [20 in] wide at maturity. Depending on the climate, it blooms throughout spring and summer. Its individual flowers [florets] within the flower head are hermaphroditic, having both male and female organs on each flower. It is pollinated by butterflies and bees. Its habitats include dry open woods, prairies and barrens, as well as cultivated beds.
Echinacea purpurea is also grown as an ornamental plant, and numerous cultivars have been developed for flower quality and plant form. Unable to grow in the shade, it thrives in either dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought once established.
Photos: Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, Callaway Gardens, GA.