There are various species of echinacea, of which the echinacea angustifolia is reportedly more rare and more powerful medicinally. It tends to grow wild on the American prairies... and grows poorly in gardens. This species has narrow leaves and a long thick taproot from which thinner roots grow out.
In contrast echinacea purpurea is the species that is more domesticated... more frequently found, and somewhat less powerful as a medicine. This species has more rounded leaves and a mass of thin threadlike roots.
A while ago, I put 20 seeds into the soil of what I thought were echinacea purpurea. They all sprouted into seedlings. I noted that these plants had narrow leaves but I STILL thought they were echinacea purpurea. I repotted the seedlings and noted that each had a long and thick taproot. I STILL thought they were echinacea purpurea because it is documented everywhere that the echinacea angustifolia doesn't sprout easily and all 20 of mine had sprouted easily and grown well.
I know they have tap roots. I know they have narrow leaves but... but... but they CAN'T BE echinacea angustifolia!! Echinacea angustifolia plants don't sprout easy and they don't grow well in gardens!! Mine sprouted like weeds and they seem to be growing fine!! It's funny how one can maintain a psychological bias in the face of overwhelming factual evidence.
Today, I noted a seedling that had been hidden behind a pot. It had grown to a good size too! It looked like an echinacea but with much more rounded leaves. So, I bent over and peered at the 2 types of echinacea on the rack and only then the scales fell from my eyes.
I now have 20 echinacea angustifolia (the rare and powerful type) and a single unexpected echinacea purpurea (the more common type).
I am still perplexed how this came about. I had sown 20 echinacea purpurea (or so I thought) and they all sprouted into echinacea angustifolia! I had sown 15 echinacea angustifolia (or so I thought) and ONE sprouted into echinacea purpurea. So... in Pet's garden, the rare is commonplace and the commonplace is rare? How did this happen? I am still scratching my head! It's like finding that water had turned into wine at a wedding.
If God planted them with me, there must be a reason. I sure hope my family ain't the ones who're gonna be falling sick when these plants bloom!!