© 2009 Honor Marks
Purple Coneflower
oil on canvas

Also known as echinacea, the purple comeflower is a native wildflower as well as a popular garden plant and herb used to support the immune system. Although the plant is widespread, native populations are beginning to dwindle and the species is now federally endangered in Florida due to harvest of wild populations to supply the herbal medicine trade. More than one previously abundant wild plant species has been harvested into threatened, endangered or extinct status due to popularity of its medicinal use. Examples include wild ginseng and golden seal. Cultivating plants for commercial use instead of collecting them from the wild would help keep native plants populations protected.