Eastern purple coneflower, a member of the Asteraceae (Aster) family, can grow up to 5 feet tall with many branched stems, although plants are fewer-branched and shorter in exposed sites. Leaves are rough, coarsely toothed, alternate, mostly stalked, up to 8 inches long and 5 inches wide. Flower heads occur on individual stalks near the tops of stems, with each head 2 1/2 to 5 inches wide and consisting of up to 20 purple, petal-like ray flowers surrounding a cone-shaped head of disk flowers.
Eastern purple coneflowers bloom late spring to fall. They are found occasionally in prairies and open woodlands, usually in moister sites; scattered through the tallgrass region west to southeastern Kansas.
This plant is a popular ornamental, and many populations are escapes from cultivars. Eastern purple coneflowers were used by Native Americans as medicinals and there is still a market today for the roots which are used to make herbal medicines and tonics.