Monday, February 18, 2013

The Hedgehog in Your Garden

While the botanical or scientific names of plants may only seem like Greek to you - and sometimes they truly are just that, there can be clever insights into the plant buried in those names.

The Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a staple in many sunny ornamental flower and herb gardens. What is not to like about this beautiful and hardy native plant? It is a perennial with stunning and long-lived blooms, few if any pests, and it needs no special care or water once established. It is also a plant that has often been used medicinally as an immune system booster. Learn more about this and other echinaces here.

According to the Dictionary of Plant Names by Allen J. Coombes,
Echinacea. From Gk. [Greek] echinos (a hedgehog) referring to the prickly receptacle scales.
While you may see the hedgehog in central disks of the vibrant summer blooms as the picture above shows, I think it is with the winter snow-frosted seed heads where the name becomes even more evident - as the picture I snapped this morning (below) shows. I think all the picture needs is some beady little eyes and pointed nose to complete the hedgehog visual, don't you agree?

(Garden Tip: Next fall do not remove all the dead plant material like the old coneflower stalks from your garden beds. They provide for much winter interest in your sleeping garden.)

Purple Coneflower - The Hedgehog in
your garden?