Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a perennial herb with stems 2-5 feet long, droopy lavender ray flowers, and spiny brown central disk flowers. (The name of the genus comes from the Greek work echino, which means hedgehog) The blooms are long-lasting, and can be found in bloom from April-September. They prefer full sun to partial shade, and well-drained, dry, sandy soils. Because they are pollinated by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, these are a nice addition to a pollinator garden. Echinacea's medicinial benefits have been utilized for many years. Today its flowers are a popular tea ingredient that is thought to increase white blood cell counts, while Native Americans used it to treat a variety of maladies, from cough to dyspepsia and a variety of other diseases.