These glade coneflowers, Echinacea simulata, were found in peak bloom during a May hike at Valley View Glades Natural Area. Pollen color separates this species from the near identical and more widespread pale coneflower, E. pallida, but some differences in growth habit can be seen as well. Some species of Echinacea are considered threatened or endangered and loss of habitat and the removal of these plants by non-licensed hunters for the pharmaceutical trade are the primary threats. There can often be found signs of plant harvesting and rock turning (looking for reptiles and arachnids for the pet trade) at this location and nearby Victoria Glad N.A. It’s a pity that more cannot be done to protect these ever-shrinking habitats.
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/18, 1/13 sec