Fewer new wildflowers are to be found in August, but lately I have found four new and attractive purple flowers
Rough Blazing Star (Liatris aspera)
There are 5 species of Blazing Star in Minnesota. The Northern Plains Blazing Star is similar to the Rough Blazing Star, but commonly has its flowers on stalks. All Blazing Star flowers are very attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and bees; and are offered by nurseries specializing in native plants.
Sky Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense)
The Smooth Blue Aster is a very similar species to the Sky Blue Aster. These asters prefer sunny well-drained locations. They are another late-summer bloomer very attractive to butterflies.
Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
According to Minnesota Wildflowers, the Eastern Purple Coneflower is not native to Minnesota, although other coneflower species are. Despite this, I think the plants pictured below are the Eastern Purple Coneflower. I’ve seen them only one place. They are prevalent along the Paul Bunyan Trail running between highways 34 and 371, south of Walker, Minnesota. It seems suspicious that they are so prevalent there and seen no where else in the area. Reportedly they are increasingly common as a “garden escapee”, which seems a likely explanation for this occurrence.
Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)
Joe-Pye Weed was found growing along a nearby roadside in a lower marshy spot. From a distance it appears similar to a milkweed. Because the plants did not have spots on the stems, they are likely Sweet-Scented Joe-Pye Weed rather than the similar Spotted species.
There are two stories about the origin of the plant’s name. Either “Joe Pye” was the name of a Native American medicine man in colonial New England, or the name is derived from “jopi”, which is a Native American word for typhoid — because the plant has been used as a remedy for typhoid. Its root contains volatile oils and is the part of the plant most commonly used medicinally.
Jim, farmers around Fertile grow purple coneflower for seed and when the seed plants clean the seed the employees have to be careful because there lips and fingers become numb.
Thanks Tom! Interesting! Wondering if the seed is for planting or to make medicinal echinacea products.
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