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Echinacea
EchinaceaPurpureaMaxima1a.UME.JPG
Echinacea purpurea 'Maxima'
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Unranked: Angiosperms
Unranked: Eudicots
Unranked: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Echinacea
Moench, 1794
Species

See text

Synonyms

Brauneria Necker ex T.C.Porter & Britton
Helichroa Raf.

Echinacea is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The nine species it contains are commonly called purple coneflowers. They are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἐχῖνος (echino), meaning "hedgehog," due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. A few species are of conservation concern.

SpeciesEdit

Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service are using DNA analysis to help determine the number of Echinacea species. The DNA analysis allows researchers to reveal clear distinctions among species based on chemical differences in root metabolites. The research concluded that of the 40 genetically diverse populations of Echinacea studied, there were nine distinct species. [1]

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