Thursday, June 05, 2008
Narrow-Leaved Purple Coneflowers
Linnaeus originally classified purple coneflowers in the genus Rudbeckia, but Conrad Moench, Methodus plantas horti botanici et agri Marburgensis a staminum situ describendi (Marburgi Cattorum: In officina nova libraria academiae, 1794), p. 591, gave them their own genus, Echinacea, from Greek echinos (ἐχῖνος) meaning hedgehog and also sea urchin. In Latin, echinus occurs as a fairly common loan word, with the same meanings as in Greek.
Augustin de Candolle, Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis, Part 5 (Paris: Treuttel & Würtz, 1836), pp. 554-555, recognized nine species of Echinacea, among them Echinacea angustifolia. The compound angustifolia comes from the Latin adjective angustus, -a, -um (narrow) and the noun folium (leaf). All nine species of Echinacea are native to North America.
Britton & Brown (III, 475) describe Echinacea thus:
Perennial erect branched or simple herbs, with thick black roots, thick rough alternate or opposite, 3-5-nerved entire or dentate, undivided leaves, and large long-peduncled heads of tubular and radiate flowers, the rays purple, purplish, crimson or yellow, the disk green or purple, at length ovoid or conic. Involucre depressed-hemispheric, its bracts lanceolate, spreading or appressed, imbricated in 2-4 series. Receptacle conic, chaffy, the chaff carinate and cuspidate. Ray-flowers neutral, or with a rudimentary pistil. Disk-flowers perfect, the corolla cylindric, 5-toothed. Achenes 4-sided, obpyramidal, thick. Pappus a short dental crown. [Greek, referring to the spiny chaff of the receptacle.]Britton & Brown (III, 476) describe Echinacea angustifolia thus:
Stem hispid or hirsute, slender, often simple, 1°-2° high. Leaves lanceolate, oblong-lanceolate, or linear-lanceolate, hirsute, acute and about equally narrowed at each end, strongly 3-nerved and sometimes with an additional pair of marginal less distinct nerves, entire, 3'-8' long, 4"-12" wide, the lower and basal ones slender-petioled, the upper short-petioled or sessile; heads and flowers similar to those of the preceding species [Echinacea purpurea], but the rays usually shorter, spreading. In dry soil, especially on prairies, Minnesota to Saskatchewan, Nebraska and Texas.Melvin R. Gilmore, Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region (1919; rpt. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), p. 79, wrote, "Echinacea seems to have been used as a remedy for more ailments than any other plant." The Native American Ethnobotany database has 84 entries for Echinacea angustifolia. It remains popular today as a remedy in alternative medicine, and it is so costly that thieves sometimes steal purple coneflowers. For almost ten years the following statute has been on the books in North Dakota (N.D. Cent. Code, § 4-24-12):
1. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor, is subject to court-ordered restitution to the landowner, and also is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars if that person willfully enters upon land owned by another and, without the express written consent of the owner, removes or attempts to remove a purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea or Echinacea angustifolia, from the land.For more information see Sandra Carol Miller, ed. Echinacea: The Genus Echinacea (Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2004).
2. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor, is subject to court-ordered restitution to the state, and is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars if that person willfully removes or attempts to remove a purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea or Echinacea angustifolia, from state-owned land.
3. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor and also is subject to a civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars if that person willfully possesses a purple coneflower removed from land in violation of this section.
4. Any vehicle used to transport a purple coneflower removed or possessed in violation of this section is forfeitable property under chapter 29-31.1.
Related post: Golden Alexanders.