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Chicago Unveils Orange Coneflowers

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.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.