Conservation planning for Echinacea species
We are studying this group of medicinal plant species because of its importance as medicine and the large number of Echinacea angustifolia plants harvested in the wild in Kansas and across the Great Plains. In collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, state Natural Heritage Programs and United Plant Savers, we have conducted a range-wide conservation assessment of the genus Echinacea. This study, funded by the U.S. Forest Service, surveyed existing data and literature, and also included gathering of baseline data, in order to make recommendations for conservation and future monitoring of these species on federal, state and other lands. Three articles on the status of Echinacea are linked below.
Echinacea species are widely used both as medicinal plants and as beautiful ornamental. Two species of Echinacea have been on the endangered species list, and widespread wild harvesting for the herbal product trade leads to concern over population pressure on the others. Maps have been created of the distribution of all nine species of Echinacea throughout their entire growing range in the United States and Canada. These maps (see link below) integrate large numbers of herbarium records in an effort to most accurately represent species distribution.