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Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is the Most Popular Perennial in America.
It s a familiar, old-fashioned flower that has been a staple in Midwestern gardens since settlement days. We had a few in my childhood garden on Lovell St., but my recollection is that they were called Rudbeckias.
A bold, rose-purple daisy with a large copper-brown center cone, it grows 3-4’ tall., thriving in full sun or part shade. It spreads by seed and rhizomes, but I don’t consider it invasive.
My side yard today.
In my experience, Purple Coneflower and Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)attract more butterflies than any of my other plants. This is a Tiger Swallowtail.
Monarchs find it irresistible.
Red Admiral on Purple Coneflower.
My side yard last July. Self-sown Purple Coneflower and Showy Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. specious) are the stars.
While Purple Coneflower is ubiquitous in flower gardens, It is, however, uncommon in natural areas. It has been found in railroad prairie remnants in Kane County south and west of Elgin (where I live), says Dick Young; while Swink & Wilhelm mention that it is prosperous in Bur Oak savannas in southern Cook County. I have never seen it growing anywhere in the wild.
Have any of you, dear readers, seen it growing in nature?