This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, echinos, hedgehog; alluding to the sharp-pointed bracts of the receptacle). Compositae. Purple Cone-Flower. Perennial stout herbs, more or less grown in the border or wild garden.
Closely related to Rudbeckia, but rays ranging from flesh-color, through rose, to purple and crimson (one species, not in the trade, has flowers yellow to red), while those of Rudbeckia are yellow or partly (rarely wholly) brown-purple: the high disk and the downward angle at which the rays are pointed are features of echinaceas; the disk is only convex at first, but becomes egg-shaped, and the receptacle conical, while Rudbeckia has a greater range, the disk from globose to columnar, and the receptacle from conical to cylindrical; heads many-fid., mostly large; disk-flowers fertile, rays pistillate but sterile; pappus a small-toothed border or crown: stems long and strong, nearly leafless above, terminated by a single head. - Five species in N. Amer., 2 of them from Mex., the others native to the U. S. By some treated as a section of Rudbeckia; by others now called Brau-neria, which is an older name.
Echinaceas and rudbeckias are stout, and perhaps a little coarse in appearance, but their flower-heads, sometimes 6 inches across, are very attractive, and borne in succession for two months or more of late summer.
With the growing appreciation of hardy borders and of native plants, it should be possible to procure four or five distinct colors in the flower, associated with low, medium and tall-growing habits. They do well in ordinary soils, and may be used to help cover unusually dry and exposed spots.
They respond well to rich soil, especially sandy loam, and prefer warm and sunny sites. They are perennials of easy culture. Propagated by division, though not too frequently; sometimes by seeds. The roots of E. angustifolia are black, pungent-tasted, and are included in the United States pharmacopcea as the source of an oleo-resin.
Moench. (Brauneria purpurea, Brit.). Commonly not hairy, typically taller than E. angustifolia, 2 ft. or more high: leaves ovate-lanceolate, or the lower ones broadly ovate, often 5-nerved, commonly denticulate or sharply serrate, most of them abruptly contracted into a margined petiole; upper leaves lanceolate and 3-nerved: rays at first an inch long and broad-ish, later often 2 in. long or more, with the same color-range as E. angustifolia, but rarely almost white. Rich or deep soil. Va. and Ohio to 111. and La. G.L. 19:28. G.M. 22: suppl. Nov. 11; 31:374. Gng. 5:41. variety serotina, Bailey (Rudbeckia purpurea variety serotina, Nutt. R. serotina, Sweet). The varietal name means late-flowering, but the chief point is the hairy or bristly character of the plant. L.B.C. 16:1539. P.M. 15:79 (as E. intermedia). - Perhaps the best form for garden
Purposes, the rays said to be much brighter colored, broader and not rolling at the edges.
DC. (B. angustifolia, Brit.). Bristly, either sparsely or densely: leaves narrower than in E. purpurea, from broadly lanceolate to nearly linear, entire, 3-nerved, all narrowed gradually to the base, the lower into slender petioles: flower-heads nearly as large as in E. purpurea, but sometimes much smaller. Prairies and barrens, Sask. and Neb. to Texas, east to 111., Tenn, and Ala. B.M. 5281. G.W. 4:164 - This species has several forms, which approach and run into E. purpurea.
A dealer advertises (1912) a "red sunflower" obtained by crossing a species of Echinacea with Helianthus multiflorus. It is described as 5-6 ft. high, with flowers 4-7 in. diam., red. See Helianthus. N. Taylor.†