Purple Coneflower in Winter

by Carl Strang

One of our most striking prairie plants is the purple coneflower.

Purple coneflower, rays just starting to expand

Purple coneflower, rays just starting to expand

The stem is strong enough to remain up through the winter, but the leaves are gone.

The overall impression is a naked stem with the seed head at the top.

The overall impression is a naked stem with the seed head at the top.

The spiky looking head, an inch or more in diameter, remains the distinctive feature of purple coneflower in winter.

I like the twisted stem of this plant.

I like the twisted stem of this plant.

The seeds are long gone, most of them probably taken as food by goldfinches. In my garden I have found that some seeds survive, and are capable of dispersing at least 20 feet.

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