Echinacea purpurea 'Mistral' 

MIstral echinacea    Perennial of the Month-- January 2015 Perry caricature

 (pronunciation at link)  (eh-kin-aa' cee-ah  pur-purr' ee-ah)

Common name:  Mistral coneflower (said as miss' tral or mees' trial)

Family:  Asteraceae, Aster

Height x width: 15-18" tall and wide

Growth rate, habit: moderate, upright compact

Foliage: narrowly ovate to 4.5in. long, coarse with stiff hairs (strigose),  alternate, simple, often clasp the stem

Flowers:  bright pink ray flowers surround a domed bronze-orange center cone, to 3.5in. wide, midsummer north (early summer south), long bloom, may repeat bloom, 

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8 (9)

Soil:  well-drained average best, tolerates some drought once established as well as poor soils (clay, rocky)

Light: full sun best, tolerates (less bloom) part shade or requires it in hot climates (west) for best color

Pests and problems:  none significant, young plants may be browsed by deer or rabbits

Landscape habit, uses:   borders, meadows, native gardens, wildlife  gardens (birds feed on seeds in late fall), cut or dried flower; combines well with other coneflower cultivars, Shasta daisy, Rudbeckia, daylily, Russian sage, gaillardia, coreopsis, among low sedum (especially golden leaved cultivars), ornamental grasses

Other interest: genus is popular for medicinal use from vitamin C supplement to colds to other attributed uses; genus names comes from Greek echinos for hedgehog, referring to the spiny central flower cones; discovered in the Netherlands in 2005 as a branch mutation on 'Kim's Knee High'

Other culture:   divide clumps if overcrowded in 4 years or so; deadhead to improve appearance but not necessary culturally and seedheads left on feed birds; in warm climates with long seasons, removing spent flowers may encourage rebloom

Propagation:  commercially by licensed propagators USPP 20,498; at home by spring division

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries

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