Synonyms for Pale-purple coneflower: Pale coneflower, pale-flowered echinacea
Scientific Name: Echinacea pallida
Family: Daisy family (Asteraceae)
The native American pale-purple coneflower blooms from June to September, transforming our gardens into a pink and purple sea of blossom throughout almost the entire summer. In Europe it is cultivated mainly as an ornamental plant and can grow to a height of up to one meter (three feet). At the top of the stem is a single large flowerhead which is quite impressive. The tension between the brownish-orange tubular disc flowers and the pinkish-purple ray flowers is one of the main features of its unconventional beauty. In full bloom, the 15 to 20 drooping ligulate ray flowers surround the conically arched seed head like the brim of a hat. Another outstanding feature of the pale-purple coneflower is its astonishing pattern of scent production. When it begins to flower and the tongues of the ray flowers are pointed upwards, the flower has practically no scent. In full bloom, the tongues are bent back and droop rather limply. Now the flower exudes a fine honey-like fragrance which attracts bees, butterflies and other insects. As soon as the disc flowers have been pollinated by the busy helpers the perfume takes on a vanilla-like aroma. On windy days in particular, the almost walnut-sized flowerhead needs the full strength of the slender, hairy stem. The lance-shaped leaves of the coneflower are also rough and hairy. In North America the tap-rooted plant, which extends its root deep into the earth, grows particularly on the dry chalky soil of the prairies and on sandbanks. In Europe the pale-purple coneflower is successfully cultivated on almost all garden soils.