You have probably all seen echinacea cultivars growing in gardens around town...how about adding a native one to your yard? This hardy prairie flower is a butterfly magnet, and since it blooms later than many of our wildflowers, it's a valuable addition to the garden.
The classicly shaped pale pink flowers have orange centers and are held on solitary stems above a clump of narrow leathery leaves. Plant it with black-eyed susan and harebell for summer color.
The USDA lists this as a species native to Missoula County from a single herbarium collection of unknown date, but truthfully it is more of an eastern Montana species. The windswept grasslands where it is common endure frequent drought and harsh winters, so you can rest assured that it's a tough little plant. I have included it in the Pipilo lineup because its later blooming period is helpful for our hard-working garden pollinators.
Like many 'east-of-the-Great-Divide' species, narrow-leaf echinacea emerges from dormancy quite late, so don't be alarmed if it hasn't popped up with your other perennials in April.