Echinacea, whose name comes from the Greek word echinos, which means sea urchin, is blooming in gardens and meadows now. See how the mound of pointed disk florets looks a little bit like a sea urchin? The drawing is of E. purpurea, a native plant that has been adopted by gardeners who love the bright color and enjoy the butterflies that it attracts.
There are two native Echinacea in Tennessee. The other, the Tennessee coneflower (E. tennesseensis). Grows in the cedar glades of middle Tennessee. It was brought back from the brink of extinction recently. We celebrated its removal from the endangered plant list a couple of years ago.
Echinacea is a popular herbal remedy for boosting the immune system, and native Americans used root extracts to treat the symptoms of colds, but apparently it is not useful as a preventative. There is disagreement among the medical community as to its efficacy, but agreement across the board that Echinacea is harmless at worst. It might be best to leave this one to the butterflies and other pollinators!
Today marks one year since my first post on this blog. It’s interesting to me to look back over the 75 posts covering a myriad of topics and look forward to what will catch my eye over this next year!