May 22nd, 2013

"I thought all Echinacea was Purple…"

by Jay Austin, Horticulturist, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Echinacea paradoxa,  the yellow echinacea!

Echinacea paradoxa, the yellow echinacea!

Have you ever wondered where all these new Echinacea culitivars came from? With all the new red, orange, and yellow varieties out there now you may find yourself wondering, “Where do all these colors come from? I thought all Echinacea was purple!”

Well, you would be 88.9 percent correct. Out of nine members of genus Echinacea, eight are purple. One member, Echinacea paradoxa, is actually yellow.

Chances are that if the cultvar is any shade of red, yellow, orange, mango, or anything other than purple or white, E. paradoxa may be found in its lineage somewhere.

E. paradoxa, native to the Ozark region of the South, is easily grown in this area in dry to average soil. Easy to grow from seed, commercially available, this underutilized species makes a worthwhile addition to any garden space.

Here at the Garden, you can  find many different cultivar and species of  Echinacea all over Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. This yellow one is  bordering Lake Sydnor, just below the Rose Garden.  In addition to being beautiful, Echinacea make excellent pollinator plants, providing a great nectar source to butterflies, bumblebees, honeybees, and other pollinators.

Want to learn more about Echinacea?  Check out Mt. Cuba Center’s Research Report Coneflowers for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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