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Echinacea Nation, Etienne style

Barbie celebrates Echinacea Nation. Photo swiped from Irvin Etienne's blog.

Barbie celebrates Echinacea Nation. Photo swiped from Irvin Etienne's blog.

Irvin Etienne’s lastest blog at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Web site gets us up to date with all the happenings in Echinacea Nation, or the land of purple coneflowers.

Why, there are milkshakes, coconuts, sunrises and sunsets, complete with a musical score.

Lesser known pale, Tennessee coneflowers worthy of garden spot

Volunteer states pride - Cupped petals of of  distinguish it from others in the family. © Photo courtesy High Country Gardens

Volunteer state's pride - Cupped petals of of distinguish it from others in the family. © Photo courtesy High Country Gardens

One of my favorite native perennials is the purple coneflower. These plants are long-blooming, upright and nutritious powerhouses for birds and butterflies.

The big flowering types have the scientific name Echinacea purpurea, which describes their purple-pink flowers. And just because purple is the second name, this species also comes in white, such as ‘White Swan’.

But there are a couple of other native, perennial coneflowers in the Echinacea family that are just as garden worthy but less well known.

The pale coneflower (E. pallida) and the Tennessee coneflower (E. tennesseensis) are pink, but more delicate than their purple cousins. For something completely different, there’s the Ozark coneflower (E. paradoxa), the only Echinacea that is yellow, thus the ‘paradox’ in its name.

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