Native to North America, coneflower, or echinacea plants, have been cultivated as a beautiful and useful garden plant throughout America and Europe since the 1700s. Even before this, however, echinacea plants were highly revered by Native Americans as an important herb. In fact, echinacea was the number one “go-to” healing plant of the Plains Indians. It was used to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, toothaches, yeast infections, skin ailments, insect and snake bites, relieve depression, treat bacterial and viral infections and as a general pain reliever. Echinacea flowers were also used in dying textiles to create rich green and brown colors. Of the approximately ten species of echinacea that grow natively throughout the United States and into Canada, most are easily recognizable, bearing the telltale prominent brown to black seed producing center cone with bright purple to pink petals that arch down from the center. However, one native variety, known
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