Echinacea is a genus of nine species of herbaceous plants in the family Asteraceae commonly called Coneflower. All are strictly native to eastern and central North America. The plants have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. Some species are used in herbal medicines.
E. purpurea flower centreThe genus name is from the Greek echino, meaning "spiny," due to the spiny central disk. They are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing to 1 or 2 m in height. The leaves are lanceolate to elliptic, 10 – 20 cm long and 1.5 – 10 cm broad. Like all asteraceae, the flowers are a composite inflorescence, with purple (rarely yellow or white) florets arranged in a prominent, somewhat cone-shaped head — "cone-shaped" because the petals of the outer ray florets tend to point downward (are reflexed) once the flower head opens, thus forming a cone.