Sunday, July 16, 2017

New Discovery about Old Friends

I've been growing purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) for years, decades even. So why didn't I know they had such a lovely fragrance?

Two or three weeks ago while pulling weeds from the path near this mass of coneflower I paused and wondered what that lovely fragrance was. Bumblebees buzzed around the flowers, sipping nectar. Could it be...?

I brought my nose next to a spiked flower and inhaled. Oh my. What a lovely fragrance.

This lady likes echinacea, too.
The flowers only release mass quantities of fragrance when it's warm and humid. At least that's one bonus of warm, humid mornings that cause me to break a sweat without trying.

I love this wonderful plant even more.

I grow four species of Echinacea and apparently a hybrid now. Not only E. purpurea, but also E. pallida, the species that grows in local prairies; E. angustifolia, the one considered the official "medicinal" echinacea; E. paradoxa with its bright yellow flowers and an orange variation. And now I have one that is possibly a cross between paradoxa and either pallida or purpurea, with pale yellow petals.

One tiny seedling of the rare E. tennesseensis grows in a pot on my front porch. I won't claim to grow five species until it finds its home in the soil somewhere in the garden.

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