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Chicago Unveils Orange Coneflowers

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Chicago Unveils Orange Coneflowers

Science

Chicago Unveils Orange Coneflowers

Chicago Unveils Orange Coneflowers

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1870987/1871477" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Orange Meadowbrite with other coneflowers at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Linda Oyama Bryan hide caption

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toggle caption Linda Oyama Bryan

The Chicago Botanic Garden announces the creation of a new coneflower — in orange, not the usual purple. The flowering plant was derived by breeding different strains of coneflower, yielding a plant that has become wildly popular.

Part of that popularity is due to gardeners' renewed interest in native plants. The coneflower, a type of daisy, has long grown across North America's plains. For years, American Indians used the plant — species Echinacea — for its medicinal benefits.

The Chicago plant, called the Orange Meadowbrite, was created by Jim Ault, the garden's director of ornamental plant research. Ault reportedly cross-bred hybrids more than 90 times before arriving at the desired color and shape.

Ault talks with NPR's Michele Norris about the new flower's history and current popularity.

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