Echinacea Twilight is the third new coneflower in the Big Sky series. Rose petals surround a unique red cone. 24" high, Twilight is also heavily branched and fragrant.
The most evident characteristic of Asteraceae, where this plant is belong to is perhaps their inflorescence: a specialised capitulum, technically called a calathid or calathidium, but generally referred to as flower head or, alternatively, simply capitulum. The capitulum is a contracted raceme composed of numerous individual sessile flowers, called the florets, all sharing the same receptacle. The capitulum of the Asteraceae has evolved many characteristics that make it look superficially like a single flower. This type of flower-like inflorescence is fairly widespread amongst angiosperms, and has been given the name of pseudanthia. A typical Asteraceae flower head (here Bidens torta) showing the individual flowers. Many bracts form an involucre under the basis of the capitulum; these are called “phyllaries”, or “involucral bracts”. They may simulate the sepals of the pseudanthium. These are mostly herbaceous but can also be brightly coloured (e.g. Helichrysum) or have a scarious texture. The bracts can be free or fused, and arranged in one to many rows, overlapping like the tiles of a roof (imbricate) or not (this variation is important in identification of tribes and genera). Each floret may itself be subtended by a bract, called a “palea” or “receptacular bract”. These bracts as a group are often called “chaff”. The presence or absence of these bracts, their distribution on the receptacle, and their size and shape are all important diagnostic characteristics for genera and tribes.