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Similar but less problematic plants:
Heuchera villosa Form
Trillium flexipes
Viola macloskeyi Viola macloskeyi
Echinacea pallida is often confused with:
Echinacea purpurea Echinacea purpurea
Native alternative(s) for Echinacea pallida:
Echinacea angustifolia Echinacea angustifolia
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Verbena canadensis Verbena canadensis
Viola pedata Viola pedata
Viola canadensis Viola canadensis
Echinacea pallida has some common insect problems:
Japanese Beetle

Echinacea pallida

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Brauneria pallida
  • Echinacea pallida f. albida
  • Rudbeckia pallida
Description

The Pale Purple Coneflower is a herbaceous perennial of the genus Echinacea. They are native to North America, and there are nine known species of Echinacea.  Echinos is Greek for "hedgehog" or "sea urchin" which is reflective of the plants spiny center cone.  Pallida is Latin and translated means "pale."  This is in reference to their petal color which is a pale pink-purple.  Echinacea was first used by Native Americans for treatment of insect stings and bites as well as snake bites. 

Currently, Echinacea is used to prevent colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections.  It has also been proven to boost the immune system and treat urinary tract infections. Echinacea preparations can also be topically applied for wounds or skin problems. The roots and whole plant possess a cortisone-like antibacterial property. 

The plant grows to about 3 feet (0.91 m) tall and has stout, erect, hairy stem which is green to purple.  The tap root is chocolate brown to black in color with very little branching.  The leaves are simple, lanceolate, alternate, hairy, and rough on both sides.  Most of the leaves are at the lower 1/3 of the stem. The flower blooms early in June to late July and is present for about 3 weeks. There are 12-20 long, slender, pale, drooping pink to purple petal/rays.  In the center of the flower is a domed reddish brown center disk of florets with white pollen. 

In early July to late August small, elongated, tan colored achenes develop in the seed head.  Seeds can be harvested in August.  Unstratified seeds need to be planted in the fall. Stratified seeds may be planted in the spring.  When the seeds are planted they should be barely covered with soil and be in a weed free bed.

Every 3-4 years the plants may become overcrowded and clumps of the plant will need to be divided.  It is an aggressive plant and needs competing plants such as prairie grass to limit its spread. The Pale Purple Coneflower is a native wildflower to Eastern and Central North America. It may be found from Wisconsin and Michigan then south to Texas and Louisiana.  It also is native to Ontario, Canada and has been found scattered in some eastern states between Maine and Georgia.  The Pale Purple Coneflower can be found in rocky prairies, open woodlands, hillsides, glades, or roadsides. 

It prefers well-drained soil (sandy, loamy, or clay), full sun, and pH of 4.5-7.5.  Due to its long tap root, it can tolerate prolonged droughts.  The USDA hardiness zones are 3 to 10.  The Pale Coneflower attracts hummingbirds, bumblebees, honey bees, butterflies, and skippers. The Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly's caterpillars feed on its foliage. The Wavy-Line Emerald Moth and Common Eupithecia feeds on the flower heads. Livestock eat the plant which has a high nutritive content.

The Pale Coneflower are showy and serve as a good cut flower or in dried floral arrangements. The plants are preferred for Mass Border, Native Gardens, Naturalized Gardens, Prairie Gardens, Wildflower Gardens, or Woodlands. There are no known toxic effects to birds, cats, dogs, horses, livestock, or humans. 

The Purple Coneflower and the Pale Purple Coneflower are difficult to tell apart. The Pale Purple Coneflower blooms 2-3 weeks earlier.  The leaves are longer and narrower.  The leaves are also more hairy, light green, and tend to be at the base of the plant.  The flowers themselves are difficult to differentiate, but the pollen is white in the Pale Purple Coneflower rather than yellow.   

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Plant problems may include Japanese Beetles and leaf spot.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#cut flowers#aggressive#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#cutting garden#native wildflower#native#perennials#dry soils tolerant#wildflower
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#drought tolerant#cut flowers#aggressive#NC native#deer resistant#herbaceous perennial#cutting garden#native wildflower#native#perennials#dry soils tolerant#wildflower
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echinacea
    Species:
    pallida
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CT, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MO, NC, NE, NY, OK, SC, TN, TX VA, WI
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts hummingbirds, honey bees, bumblebees, butterflies and skippers.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Defines Paths
    Easy to Grow
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    In early July to late August, small, elongated, tan colored achenes develop in the seed head. Seeds may be harvested in August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Daisy-like in appearance, it is about 3" across with 12-20 petals/rays which are pinkish-purple in color. Each petal is about 1.5 to 3" long and less than .25" wide. There are 3 notched teeth at the tips. The petals are long, narrow, elongated and drooped. The center of the flower has a spiny, knob-like, reddish-brown colored cone of florets with white pollen. The flower's shape is ligulate.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The majority of the light green leaves are on the lower 1/3 of the stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Has a stout, erect, hairy stem.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil