Native Plant of the Week: Pale Purple Coneflower ~ Echinacea pallida

Pale Purple Coneflower ~ Echinacea pallida
Pale Purple Coneflower is an excellent prairie native for medium to dry locations in full sun. It is by far my favorite Coneflower, with its light pink narrow petals that hang downwards from the large cone.

Echinacea is Greek for hedgehog which describes the sharp, spiny chaff of the disk when in seed. (Wildflowers of Wisconsin)

It flowers in late June, earlier than other Coneflower species, reaching heights of 3 feet. It is sought out by many bee, butterfly and other pollinating insect species.

"Long-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers are the most important visitors to the flowers. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, Nomadine Cuckoo bees, Large Carpenter bees, and Leaf-Cutting bees." (Illinois Wildflowers Website)

It is very attractive when interplanted with prairie grasses, the stiff hairy stems grow above the height of grass blades creating an interesting layered effect. "There is a tendency for Pale Purple Coneflower to flop over when in bloom if it is pampered by too much water or lacks adequate support from adjacent vegetation." (Illinois Wildflowers Website)

The dried seed heads are thoroughly picked at by Goldfinches and Chickadees in late summer and early fall in our yard.

We added several more Pale Purple Coneflowers to our landscape last summer in our Watershed Grant Project so I'm looking forward to having more in flower this coming summer.

Pale Purple Coneflower is native to Nebraska south to Texas and eastwards but not including all States. See the USDA Plants map for complete distribution.