Echinacea pallida (Pale Purple Coneflower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Pale Echinaceae
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:South/Eastern US
Habitat:sun; dry prairies
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:2 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flowers]  Flowers are single on end of stout hairy stem, with 15-20 purplish pink to nearly white rays (petals), each 1½ to 3 inches long and less than ¼ inch wide, with three notched teeth at the tips. Petals grow out and up, hanging down with maturity. In the center is a large round reddish brown disk covered in tiny brown disk flowers with white pollen.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of stem leaves] Leaves are mostly basal, with stem leaves widely spaced and alternately attached on the lower half of the stem. Lower leaves are long and narrow, to 8 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide, on long stalks, becoming smaller and stalkless as they ascend the stem. Edges are toothless and there are 3 distinct veins along the length. Stems and leaves are hairy and rough to the touch. Stems may be green or purple tinged, rarely branched.


A native of eastern dry prairie, Pale Purple Coneflower is not common in the nursery trade but is widely offered in the native plant trade. It is not native to Minnesota but grows well here and is fairly common in roadside restoration plantings. It is similar to our native Echinacea angustifolia (Narrow-leaved Purple Coneflower), which has shorter, broader ray petals and a slightly smaller stature overall. Another “wild” Echinacea offered in the natives trade is Bush's Coneflower, E. paradoxa, that has a similar flower structure but the petals are deep yellow.

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More photos

Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue County and in a private garden in Anoka County


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Paul henjum - Apple Valley
on: 2020-03-30 05:31:51

Grows well in dry areas with native bunch grasses and Liatris and is loved by small bees. It has a taproot and is drought tolerant. When grown from seed it takes about three years to grow large enough to flower. Birds love the seeds. In my experience not an aggressive self seeder.

Posted by: Howard Gitelson - Cannon Falls
on: 2020-05-17 16:33:52

I’m just getting some small native prairie gardens started. Is it safe to cut back the stems of Blazing Star and BlackEyed Suzan plants in the late fall or spring? Have they alread spread their seeds by then?

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