Purple cone flowers grow in dry areas and are drought tolerant. They bloom in early summer and continue to early fall. Their stems are usually stiff and hairy, and they usually have purple, daisy-like flowers, with petals that grow downward from a prickly cone in the center. Some purple cone flowers can be other colors like white, yellow, and pink.
If you see a wild coneflower, do not dig it up! It might be endangered. There are only 7-9 species of purple coneflowers, and two of them are on the endangered list.
Many people believe that the Echinacea plant has medical benefits, but research is showing that there are no benefits in relation to sickness or with help in fighting colds. The consumption of Echinacea may increase white blood cell counts, but that is most likely due to the body fighting off one of the chemicals in these plants. The increase of white blood cells is short-lived. The good news, is that if you're one of those people who pops an Echinacea pill when you get a cold, there are no health risks. And who knows, if you believe it will help you, you may experience a little placebo effect.