Echinacea or purple cone flowers as they are also known, are part of the Asteraceae (sunflower or aster) family of plants. Echinacea is native to central and eastern United States, which can be found growing in moist to dry prairies, fields, and open woods. They are a drought tolerant plant. These native plants produce purple, pink, or yellow blooms. The plant head is made up of multiple tiny flowers with sterile rays that have color, which attract insects and birds. They look cone-shaped because the petals of the outer ray florets tend to point downward once the flower head opens. Echinacea has been used as an herbal remedy since the mid 19th century. Uses have included relief of pain from snake bites and anthrax, also, treating symptoms of a the common cold or sore throats.
The vibrant color and nectar of the flowers attract many creatrures, including praying mantis, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Some butterfly species you may see around the purple cone flower include monarchs, swallowtails, ladies or skippers. The seed heads attract birds, mainly finches. American and Lesser goldfinches primarily eat seeds of plants in the sunflower family, which includes these cone flowers.