Echinacea Moench (Asteraceae)

Echinacea is represented by three or four species in North Carolina. Echinacea laevigata (C.L. Boynton & Beadle) S.F. Blake is federally listed (Fed T, S1S2 G2G3).  Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench (State SR-O, S1 G4) was delisted at the state level in 2021, but continues to be tracked by the Natural Heritage Program, along with E. pallida (State SR-D, S1 G4). 

Federally listed taxon—
Echinacea laevigata (Fed T, State T | S1S2 G2G3)

Habitat. Glades and woodlands over mafic or calcareous substrates. Associates include Silphium terebinthinaceum Jacq., Solidago ptarmicoides (Torr. & A. Gray) B. Boivin, S. rigida L. var. glabrata E.L. Braun, Liatris squarrosa (L.) Michx., and L. squarrulosa Michx.

Range. Eastern US, historically from Arkansas to Pennyslvania, but no longer extant in those two states.

Additional resources. NHP | USFWS | Recovery plan

Key to Echinacea in North Carolina

Key adapted from Binns et al. (2002), Urbatsch et al. (2006 [FNA]), and Weakley (2008). Photos by Krings, unless otherwise indicated. Maps courtesy of USDA PLANTS and the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.

1. Leaves lanceolate to ovate, the larger > 5 cm wide...2.

2. Leaves glabrous on both sides, or scabrous above; receptacle bracts (paleae) 7–12 mm long, awns about a fourth the length of the entire bract...E. laevigata*

2'. Leaves pubescent or scabrous on both sides; receptacle bracts (paleae) 9–15 mm long, awns about half the length of the entire bract...E. purpurea

1'. Leaves lanceolate to linear, the larger < 5 cm wide...3.

3. Fresh pollen white...E. pallida

3'. Fresh pollen pale to bright yellow...E. simulata