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Echinacea was important as a medicinal plant to the American Indians. Although there may be a place for echinacea in modern pharmacology, the gardener finds the coneflower better suited amongst other ornamental herbs such as butterfly weed, garlic chives and wild bergamot. Down-turned petals around a dark bristled cone are characteristic of the coneflowers (except Tennessee coneflower which has upturned petals.) When the petals have dropped off, the remaining cone can be used in making wreaths and in other crafts.
All coneflowers do best in full sun, although they will do nicely in part shade, and well-drained soil. They will tolerate periods of drought during the summer.
Coneflower, Purple.Echinacea purpurea. Perennial. Hardy to -40°F. Vigorous grower has large, drooping, purple-petaled flowers. Height is 2 to 3 feet in flower. Space plants 8 inches apart. Harvest roots after 3-4 years; flowers, leaves anytime. Medicinal.
Coneflower, Tennessee.Echinacea tennesseensis. Perennial, hardy to -40° F. This unique coneflower is characterized by upturned, rather than drooping, purple ray-like flowers. Height can reach 2 feet. Harvest roots after 3-4 years; flowers, leaves anytime. Medicinal. Endangered species.
Epazote.Chenopodium ambrosioides. Annual, hardy to 32°F. Height to 24 inches. Easy to grow and can become a nuisance if it is permitted to make seed. This is the famous Mexican herb is used to flavor bean dishes and also finds its way into corn, mushroom and seafood dishes. Medicinally, it was once used to expel worms from children. (Mexican Tea, Wormseed).
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These famous trees of Australia are extremely fast growing. Some species may grow up to 6 feet in the first year, reaching 50-300 feet at maturity. Alas, they are tender in our area and are unlikely to survive outside once temperatures dip below 20°F. Well established plants may sprout new spring growth from the roots even if left outside in a pot. Despite their legendary height they can be pruned to a manageable size and grown in containers for a short while. Soil should be well drained but not allowed to dry out completely.