PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER
Attitude is determined by how you look at life. Some people complain because God put thorns on rose bushes. Others praise Him because He put roses on thorny bushes.
The Apostle Paul suffered greatly because he was telling people about God's deep love for everybody. He was passionate about the Good News but he was frequently persecuted for his desire to help people find the joy he had found. On one of the many occasions when he was imprisoned he wrote, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8.
These virtues are found among God's people. Even though church people are not perfect (have thorns), remember church is where Godly virtues are nurtured, that is to say, where the roses bloom. Be in church tomorrow.
The coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) and the purple coneflower are distinctly different wildflowers. The coneflower is yellow with a greenish-brown head much like the black-eyed-Susan. In fact, some wildflower books list all three in the same description as slight variations of one another. All three may be related within the composite family but the herbalist singles out the purple coneflower as one of the premier general health aides in America. The common species in our area is the Pale variety (note the Latin "pallida") though we refer to it as the purple coneflower.
Purple coneflowers stand as high as 5 feet. The blossom is a composite made up of twelve to fifteen rays circling the geometrically shaped head. The head (disk) contains orange florets set in rows around the head pointing upward. The deep purple underside of the floret dominates the coloration thus making the orange difficult to see except by very close examination.
The narrow downward bending rays are purplish-pink but they fade in the sunlight. Although purple coneflowers prefer thinly wooded areas they are often found in rocky glades and heavily grassed prairie land. The natural habitat ranges from Georgia to east Texas to eastern Kansas to central New York.
The blooming season of the purple coneflower runs from May through August.
A former neighbor used to make an herbal tea of the leaves of the purple coneflower to benefit from the echinaecea it contains. It is believed by some to enhance the immune system and the lymphatic system. According to John Lust in "The Herb Book" (Bantam Books 1974), echinaecea is also promoted as one of the blood-purifying drugs, providing relief for eczema, acne and boils.
Another herb book titled "The complete Book of Herbs" (Viking, 1988) does not include any reference to any variety of coneflower. In my opinion any use of home grown herbs are risky for two reasons: 1) the relative strength of the herb may vary from plant to plant, and 2) herbicides and other chemicals used nearby may be present on the leaves or absorbed into the roots.
Nevertheless, I am enthusiastic about the purple coneflowers in my yard because they attract many birds, including humming birds and goldfinches.
Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 770-929-3697.