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A few days ago I noticed that my first purple coneflowers, latin name Echinacea purpurea, are starting to appear.
Echinacea is one of my favorite edible flowers, largely due to its herbal uses and for its beauty and versatility as a flower.
The leaves, root, and flower are edible. I’ve never tried eating the flowers, but I have used the leaves as something like a spinach substitute in lasagna when my kids were younger. As my official taste test team, it didn’t get high marks by them, largely due to the leaves having a kind of fuzzy fur like texture to them.
The roots, after being at least a couple of years old, are used by some as an herbal remedy for building ones immune system. Whether this actually works or not is largely up to which study you refer to. Some studies say it works when done correctly, using the correct amounts and taking it over the correct time periods, and some studies claim it has no perceptible affect. So it really is up to you on what you believe on this.
Personally, I would be really sad to dig up my beautiful flowers in order to harvest their roots. I guess if there was ever a plague of some sort and I was desperate for herbal methods to use to protect my family, I’d be willing to do it. But for the time being I am satisfied with enjoying these great flowers.
In previous years I have had a lot of fun using my coneflowers in flower arrangements. They work really well for this, lasting for a long time. The stiffness of the stems and blossoms keeps them looking nice longer than many other kinds of flowers. I used to make arrangements with other long lasting evergreens, like sword ferns, and the arrangement would last for a week or so.
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Jun 14, 2007 | 12:02 PM PST
How did you go about starting yours? I have some seed and tried to start some outdoors last year. I don't think they even came up. Another bed I have has better soil though and may have different results.
Jun 14, 2007 | 4:00 PM PST
I once tried growing some from seed via directly sowing them in my landscaping bed and didn't have any luck with that either. So I got a few potted ones, which I planted. They are in about their third year now in my yard.
Jul 24, 2008 | 12:49 PM PST
Did you grow the coneflowers from seed or plant? I planted some E.purpurea from seed, they seem to be hard to grow.