Coneflowers Facts

Coneflowers Facts
Coneflowers are herbaceous plants that belong to the daisy family. They are native to the eastern and central parts of North America. There are nine species and from 60 to 100 varieties of coneflowers that can be found around the world today. Coneflowers grow in the fields, meadows, dry woodlands, grasslands and prairies. Two species of coneflowers are listed as endangered due to habitat destruction and over-collecting from the wild. People cultivate coneflowers in ornamental and medical purposes.
Interesting Coneflowers Facts:
Coneflowers have erect, robust, hairy stem that can reach 2 to 4 feet in height.
Coneflowers produce and secrete chemicals which prevent growth of competing plants. This phenomenon is known as allelopathy.
Coneflowers produce lanceolate, elliptical or oval leaves with long petioles. They have rough texture and serrated edges. Leaves are alternately arranged on the stalk.
Coneflowers develop flower head that consists of 200 to 300 florets arranged in the form of spiny cone in the centre and of 15 to 50 petal-like rays on the periphery. Each plant produces single flower head that grows on top of the stem.
Color of coneflowers depends on the variety. They can be dark brown with purple rays or composed of orange-brown, greenish or yellowish cones with purple or white rays. Some types of coneflowers produce flower heads that consist of two rows of petals.
Coneflowers bloom from June to September. They attract bees and butterflies, main pollinators of these plants.
Coneflowers are initially odorless. When ray florets orient themselves downward, plant starts to emit honey-like scent which attracts pollinators. After successful pollination, coneflowers produce sweet, vanilla-like scent.
Fruit of coneflowers is dry, single-seeded cypsela with three or four edges.
Latin name of the genus coneflowers is "Echinacea". It originates from the Latin word "echinos" which means "sea urchin". Name refers to the spiny cone of the flower head.
Native Americans discovered healing properties of the coneflowers by observing the wild animals. They realized that wounded elks recuperate after consumption of coneflowers.
Native Americans used juice extracted from the root of coneflowers in treatment of toothache, sore throat, fever, snake bites and open wounds.
European immigrants learned about healing potential of coneflowers from Native Americans. They started to sell coneflowers as herbal remedy designed for purification of blood. At the beginning of 20th century, coneflowers became one of the most popular and most commonly used herbal remedy in America.
Modern science proved that coneflowers contain substances that have anti-inflammatory (prevent inflammation) and anti-septic (eliminate germs) properties.
Coneflowers are mostly used to boost immune system today and to alleviate symptoms of flu and common cold. They are available in the form various tinctures and pills.
Coneflowers are perennial plants that can survive from 5 to 6 years in the wild.

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