Coneflower


1 entry found.
Coneflower
Common Name: Coneflower, Purple Coneflower
Botanical Name: Echinacea purpurea (ek- in-ACE-ee-a pur-PUR-ee-a)
Decorative Life: 5-12 days.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a hydration or bleach solution.
Harvest Instructions: Runkle et al. (2001) showed that this species is a true intermediate-day plant and that best flowering and plant quality is achieved using 13-15 hours of light per day.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster or sunflower family).
  • Native to eastern North America.
  • Close relatives include cosmos, dahlia, marigold, zinnia, lettuce, dandelion, chicory and endive.
Personality:
  • Flower heads have one row of drooping, showy ray flowers around the edge and the center is spiny-looking.
  • Stems are 24-36 inches long, often hairy.
  • Plant is a herbaceous perennial, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
  • Some cultivars have fragrant flowers.
Availability: Flowers in summer, seed pods thereafter.
Flower Color: Purple, white, crimson and orange.
Storage Specifics: Various reports showed that this species could be stored at 36-45 F for up to 7 days. However, in one study using 'Bright Star' its vaselife was 4.6 days in DI water and tolerated 2 weeks storage at 35F and 5 days of shipping. In another study, an unknown cultivar did not tolerate one-week storage at 35F suggesting that this species should be marketed as soon after harvest as possible.
Tidbits:
  • From the Greek "echinos" (a hedgehog) referring to the spiny bracts on the flower head. The specific epithet name purpurea means purple, in reference to its main flower color.
  • Roots are used medicinally as a supplement to strengthen the immune system. This has led to excessive harvesting of wild plants and coneflower is becoming rare in its native habitats.
  • Easily cultivated in gardens.
  • Sold fresh with or without showy ray flowers, suitable for drying.
  • The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a "composite" of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one "petal" off at a time, saying "she/he loves me, loves me not", they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
Recent Findings: Starman et al. (1995) rated this species ('Magnus') as being an above average income producer. Redman et al. (2002) reported that 39F storage temperature gave equal results (they did try lower and higher temperatures), at this temperature flowers could be stored wet for less than one week, STS was not beneficial and flower food was detrimental.