"A weed is simply a plant that you don't know what to do with."
Author Unknown

Echinacea is a wild herb in the daisy family. The nine species of echinacea are commonly known as coneflowers. The most widely known are E. augustifolia and E. purpurea.

I believe that our local echinacea species is E. pallida, or pale purple coneflower. The flower petals match Wikipedia's description of "narrow, linear, elongated, and drooping ... with pale rose-purple or nearly white-colored petals." Ours have nearly-white petals, which are long, separate, and always drooping; they never form a pretty, round flower shape like the other varieties do.

Sometimes called the Oklahoma drooping daisy, the flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies, and I'm told that deer don't like to eat the plants. I can't prove that, but then again, mine haven't been eaten by deer.

E. pallida grows in dry soils, rocky prairies, and open hillsides. Ours grow in a sunny, open area, on a hillside so the soil is well-drained. Although nature is trying to reclaim this corner, the area where the plants grow is still open and there isn't much competition from other plants.

Young flower

Echinacea is a widely-used herb which is thought to encourage the immune system and treat many symptoms of the common cold, flu and other illnesses and conditions. It is available over the counter as teas, liquid extracts, capsules and tablets, and the dried herb itself.

Last year's dried blooms and this year's fresh flower
Most uses of echinacea involve the root, which is harvested from three-year-old plants in the fall. has comprehensive information about growing, harvesting and using echinacea.

I think it's an unusual and pretty flower, though short-lived, and it always makes me smile to see the tall white blooms waving in the Oklahoma wind - it's pretty much always windy here. They grow in small groups in sunny places and along the roadsides, always cheerful. 
Remember, before using this or any herb, please research it fully. 
You are responsible for your own health. 

Other posts in this series:
Woolly Mullein
Wild Onions
How to Harvest Yarrow
Curly Dock
DIY Herb Field Guide

 This post has been shared at the following:
Frugally Sustainable
Sunny Simple Life
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  1. One of my absolute favorites, although I have had some problems with getting them to germinate, believe it or not! ;0) We have one by our mailbox presently, and I consider it a lovely gift.
    I hope you'll share this Tuesday on The Maple Hill Hop!

  2. Thank you, Daisy. I'm hoping to get some to grow in my garden this year too. (And yes, I'll be there Tuesday.)

  3. I never realized Echinacea was such a pretty flower!

  4. It is quite pretty, Heidi. Our variety never has the full flower face that the more common purple one has, but it's still pretty.

  5. I adore Echinacea. It's not only beautiful, but all the benefits too! Thank you for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday and I hope you submit the rest of the series as you go. Green Thumb Thursday

  6. Thank you, Jessica. So many wild plants are not only pretty but are beneficial too. Thank you for hosting Green Thumb Thursday.