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purple coneflower
Echinacea Moench (Asteraceae)
General description:
Coneflowers are any of nine species of perennial herbs in the genus Echinacea. They are native to eastern and central North America, and typically occur in prairie habitats and open woodlands. They grow up to 140 cm tall. As members of the Asteraceae family, their flowers are actually structures comprising hundreds of tiny florets. The florets come in two types, rays and discs. The ray florets are long and brightly colored, resembling the petals of a typical flower. The area of the flower with the disc florets is shaped like a thimble or cone, hence the common name coneflower. The disc florets themselves are rather inconspicuous, but are each enclosed in an orangish-brown bract. The bracts are sharply pointed, giving the central part of the flower a spiny appearance; the name Echinacea is derived from a Latin word for sea urchins, alluding to this spiny appearance. Leaves are produced in a cluster at the base of the plant as well as along the stems, and are usually covered in rough hairs.
History, uses and importance:
Coneflowers were used medicinally by several Native American tribes. When chewed, the roots produce an acrid, numbing sensation, and were used to treat toothaches, coughs and sore throats. Poultices made from the roots or leaves were used to treat skin conditions such as burn and boils.

Today, coneflower products are among the ten herbal supplements with the highest sales, amounting to as much as $15 million a year. Originally used by Native Americans to treat symptoms of the common cold (cough and sore throat), research now indicates that coneflowers may boost the immune system and shorten the duration of common cold infections, so that Echinacea is typically promoted today as a cold remedy.

Aside from their use in herbal medicine, coneflowers are also valued as ornamental plants. Coneflowers are drought and frost hardy and are fairly easy to grow. They produce a spectacular floral display in early and mid-summer. Breeding efforts have led to the development of many cultivars with interesting floral characteristics not found in wild populations.
Comprehensive museum links:
Artefacts Canada, aster
Bosque Museum, coneflower
The Chicago Field Museum, Botany Department, Search Echinacea purpurea
The Chicago Field Museum, Economic Botany, Search Echinacea purpurea
The Chicago Field Museum, Botany Detailed Search, Search Echinacea purpurea
The Chicago Field Museum, vTypes Collection Database, Search Echinacea purpurea
Penobscot Marine Museum, Aster,
Rijksmuseum, Rijksstudio, Aster
Victoria and Albert Museum, aster
Natural history museum links:
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Hidden Collection (Blog): Collected on this Day in 1896 (New England Aster) and ?White wood Aster)
National Museum of Nature and Science, Japan, Natural History Collection Database, Asteraceae
Natural History Museum, London, Botany Collection, Echinacea purpurea
Natural History Museum, London, Library and Archives, Echinacea purpurea
Natural History Museum, London, Library and Archives, Coneflower
Natural History Museum of Utah, Rio Tinto Center, University of Utah, Intermountain Region Herbarium Network, Echinacea purpurea
Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum, Fullerton Arboretum, Plant Records, Parney Cotoneaster
Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum, Fullerton Arboretum, Plant Map
Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum, Fullerton Arboretum, Plant Records, Rock Cotoneaster
Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum, Upcoming Show, ?Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers? (Show Dates: September 1, 2018- October 28, 2018)
Royal Horticultural Society, UK, Ruby Giant: Coneflower
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Chicago Academy of Sciences, purple coneflower
U.S. Wildflowers, Aster
U.S. Wildflowers, Coneflower
U.S. Wildflowers, Echinacea purpurea
U.S Wildflowers, Garden Cornflower
Virginia Living Museum, asters
Virginia Living Museum, asters
Virginia Living Museum, asters
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, echinacea
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Echinacea purpurea
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Asters
History museum links:
Autry Museum of the American West, aster
Autry Museum of the American West, Echinacea
Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, Search Aster
Missouri History Museum, St. Louis, Search Asters
The National Museum of American History, echinacea
Art museum links:
The Bakken (Art Museum), echinacea
FIGGE Art Museum, aster
FIGGE Art Museum, asters
Goldstein Museum of Design, aster
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Aster
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Coneflower
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Aster
Museum of Russian Art (MORA, Jersey City, NJ), possibly asters
Portland Museum of Art
Portland Museum of Art (Maine), Coneflower
Portland Museum of Art (Maine), Aster
Rochester Art Center, MN, hyper detail flower exhibit
St. Louis Art Museum, Search Asters
Tate, UK, Aster motif
Tate, UK, Coneflower
Anthropology museum links:
American Swedish Museum, prairie
National Museum of the American Indian: Smithsonian Gardens, coneflower
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Asters
Spurlock Museum of World Cultures (U of Illinois), coneflowers
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: Preu?ischer Kulturbesitz: Ethnologisches Museum, coneflower
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin: Preu?ischer Kulturbesitz: Ethnologisches Museum, coneflower
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Asters
Library links:
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB (National Food and Beverage Foundation), coneflower
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB (National Food and Beverage Foundation), aster
New Orleans Public Library, partners with NATFAB (National Food and Beverage Foundation), asters
Missouri Botanical Garden Peter H. Raven Library, Echinacea purpurea
Missouri Botanical Garden Peter H. Raven Library, Echinacea
Missouri Botanical Garden Peter H. Raven Library, Aster
UC San Diego (University Library), asters
UC San Diego (University Library), Echinacea
 
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