Weird green echinacea

Cindi McMurraySeptember 4, 2002

This summer one of my echinaceas bloomed green---all parts of the flower! Is this a mutation? Will the seeds produce more plants that bloom green? Every bloom on this plant was mostly green, but some had a little pink on the ends of the petals. Some blooms had erratic shapes. It is a vigorous plant, with many blooms. I do have photos if anyone wants to see.

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Cindi McMurray

Don't know how to post the photo here...but it can be viewed on my public photo album at
Click the one that says "garden s.." (summer 2002)

Here is a link that might be useful: photo album

    Bookmark   September 4, 2002 at 12:45PM
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Cindi -
Your Echinacea looks like a sport or mutation. It is truly different! Is this the first year it has produced flowers for you? My guess is that it would come true from seed - if it does in fact produce viable seed.
Would you be willing to part with any of your Echinacea seed? Currently I am working on several new perennial seed varieties that will be distributed though a new seed company, something that unusual shouldn't be lost to cultivation - I am sure that other gardeners would love your plant (I think it is beautiful!) and you would be given the recognition for 'finding' it. Maybe it should be called Cindi's Green Echinacea. Please email me and let me know if you would be able to share any seeds!
Sincerely, Jeff

    Bookmark   September 9, 2002 at 7:21AM
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corbeau(z7 DC)

I'd be interested in a few Green Echs too. Would really make me the envy of my irish neighbors.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 2:28PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Cindi, neat green echinacea. I see you also grew leonotis. I grew it from seed for the first time this year and absolutely loved it. My plants got over 8 ft. tall, unfortunately it isn't winter hardy here in NC zone 7. My also had to be chopped back twice due to storm damage knocking it over. Good luck with your unusual coneflower.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2002 at 7:28AM
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I am always interested in any sports mutations or new developments . If any of you wish to trade seeds I have a large exchange list.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2002 at 3:13PM
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Karaa(z3 MB)

Hi Cindi,
I too would be interested in some of your green ech. seeds if your interested in trading. Please let me know if there is anything on my list that might interest you. Take care. :o)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2002 at 4:48PM
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I went to look at the photo in your album, but didn't see it. You may want to scroll down to the Echinacea Yellows photo at this site and compare to what they show as a diseased plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Echinacea Yellows-disease

    Bookmark   November 8, 2002 at 9:40AM
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.... new plants should be directed here - they seem to be the experts

Here is a link that might be useful: PLANTS magazine

    Bookmark   November 29, 2002 at 6:39AM
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agrinerd(6b NC)

Wow. If this really is a mutant, make sure you grow out a load of SELFED seedlings from it to stabilize it. Mutations like this are sometimes unstable and almost always recessive. Any stray pollen from normal plants will result in seedlings that look normal, but carry the recessive mutant genes. You'd be able to recover the mutant genes after a couple of generations, but if the green one turns out to be self-fertile, why bother? Does anyone out there know if Echinacea are self-fertile? If so, you should be able to isolate or cover the plant to prevent cross-pollination.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2003 at 5:08PM
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Without looking at a picture of it, I'm not certain what is going on, but my guess is you've got a phytoplasma disease. Among their symptoms are greening of tissues and abnormal growth, usually being excessively branched or flattened.

Because the whole plant did this and not a single shoot, I doubt it is a sport. Although you could propagate it, there are two potential problems: plants with phytoplasmas are usually less hardy and may not survive over time, and phytoplasmas are can be spread through insect feeding. Thus, your healthy plants may become diseased.

I hope this helps. What you choose to do with your mutation is up to you. But keep in mind, if insects spread it, your neighbors may not consider green coneflowers as interesting as you do.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2003 at 2:52PM
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Hi Cindy - that is a really neat plant - and it doesn't look diseased at all.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2003 at 11:50PM
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Some green echinacea popped up in our garden too.
That disease theory seems plausible. I can't see how this could be advantageous to a plant...I looked the flowers over and can't see any pollen like I do on my other plants. These are *green* flowers, basically invisible to bees. Plus new flowers, stem and all, seem to be growing right inside the old flower.

Not sure about the original poster's situation, but my green echinacea is most likely diseased. Check out this website:
Figure 5 looks almost like mine.

Thanks Grndskpr_Wenthe for your phytoplasma suggestion.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2003 at 12:33AM
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Cindi McMurray

My echinacea looked perfectly normal other than the unusual green blooms. No flattened stems, no excess growth, and just as tough as all the others in that bed.
I contacted people at Plant Delights and they said echinacea mutate fairly frequently, but that mutants are usually sterile. I'll watch this summer to see if that plant returns. I'll let you know what the seeds produce, if anything.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2003 at 9:08AM
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Garden_Doc(Z5 IL)


I have seen this "flower form" before. I collect echinacea seeds and the plant I observed did not produce any seeds. I would keep and eye on yours and perhaps you will have better luck with the seed

    Bookmark   June 2, 2003 at 4:57PM
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Hey Cindi,

I have also seen the same form on Rudbeckia named "Green Wizard". There are also other names, but that is the one I saw in the Netherlands. I would suggest not giving any seeds away, but contacting a perennial company and try to make a contract with them. I know that Walters Gardens Inc. (Michigan) or Sunny Border Nurseries (Conn.) would probably be interested in at least seeing a picture and maybe growing them commercially for you. I hope that you haven't given any material away because this find could possibly make you a little bit of money.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2003 at 10:40AM
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KCtomato1(z5/6 KC, Mo)

HI Cindi

Im just over the border in Missouri. I got the seeds in Ks from the wild. I've seen this frequently over the past 5 years. It does seem to be a disease induced effect.

If left be they usually come back but eventually start to fade in vigor. I just pull them out now.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 10:51PM
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I've got this comming up too. I was excited until I did some research of my own. It is diseased. When my digital camera gets back from the "doctor" I will post a pic.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2003 at 3:14PM
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luvmydaisies(Lonsdale, MN/ zone4)

I had a clump of echinacea like that this summer too!! I let it stay during the summer but this fall I pulled it. I figured it was from a mutant seed. I hope that I didn't throw away a start to something "new" oh well. All my other purple coneflowers were ok.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2003 at 5:33PM
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matt_bonsai(z6a-7a VA)

Be sure to patent it before trading or selling it or someone could sell it and you would get no credit gotta go post more later...

    Bookmark   October 7, 2003 at 9:06PM
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That phytoplasma disease is bad stuff especially in Phlox paniculata. Glad to find some consciousness about it finally. Many tiny bunched stems. Got in my nursery through supposedly reputable plug growers and a Dutch bare root grower. Now it is resident in the wild plants around the nursery. Found that the disease is not as bad when you don't use any peat moss in the containers, some stems breaking out of it and growing normally. Also when planted in the ground in ordinary soil.

I had a few runty Echinacea 'Rubinstern' (derived from 'Magnus', Jelitto Seeds, Germany) and let them go another year instead of selling them. The second year they all looked like 'Kim's Knee High' with one plant a bit more dwarf and compact than 'Kim's'. Now I have collected seed from all these and can try making a short, compact seed cultivar.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2003 at 10:35AM
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Cindy, How did the seed do this season? Did the plant come back?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2003 at 6:12AM
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Cindi McMurray

This summer I moved all the echinacea out of that bed to make more room for new daylilies. Stupidly, I didn't keep track of where I put that particular one in the new bed. I don't have any native echinacea--all of mine are named varieties I purchased. No other plants are showing any sign of disease or mutation. I really think I had a good mutant that was sterile, just like Tony Avent predicted.
I'll post photos if it blooms next summer! Can't believe this post has lasted this long!
Oh--I do also have the rudbeckia Green Wizard. This is not the same...think apples and oranges.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2003 at 1:19PM
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cindip(z7 NC)

Hi Cindi,
WOW, you have certainly gotten lots of different opinions on your NEW flower. I wish you the best. It sounds beautiful. I hope you will be able to grow many more just like it.
Btw, love how you spell your name :-)
Looking forward to spring,

    Bookmark   January 30, 2004 at 11:35PM
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Cindi McMurray

This summer the weird green echinacea bloomed once again. It was one of the larger, healthier plants in my echinacea collection. The green blooms had funny tops on them like "Doppelganger" or "Razzmatazz", which grow elsewhere in that bed. No disease whatsoever. I did collect seeds this time. I'll see if I can figure out how to post an embedded photo.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 10:21AM
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Did you ever get my email?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 3:44PM
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Cindi McMurray

Paion, no, I never got any mail from you.
Also, that particular plant still had healthy leaves on it through our first 2 freezes this fall. It's hardier than the rest!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 4:56PM
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I guess your email provider might be blocking my hotmail account, I'll try again from gmail. The subject will be "Weird green Echinacea", and I'll attach my trade list as an xls-file.

The Echinacea looks very interesting, I wonder if it's a form of proliferation?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 7:41AM
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I'm very sorry for the off-topic posts, but I don't know of another way to contact you, it doesn't look like my emails are coming thru. If you haven't received any mails from me, could you please send me an email thru my member page? Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 10:10AM
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mistercross(z6b Ozarks)

Cindi_in_KS, I don't know if embedded photos are allowed in this forum. You might use one of the GardenWeb Photo Galleries, and post a link here. I've never used them, and the instructions weren't very clear, but apparently if you have the image on your computer, after you type your message and click "Preview Message" in the Gallery then a box pops up and you click "Browse" and find it.

By the way, the HTML code to embed images that are already online (if they are allowed) is something like (img src="";), but replace ( and ) with .

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 2:38PM
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mistercross(z6b Ozarks)

Darn, I should have checked more closely before posting. The Image Uploading instructions are on the main page of the Hybridizing Forum. They are not allowed in followup messages, so you would have to start a new message. Again you have to look on the Preview Message step for the Browse button, or use the HTML code in the original box.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 2:53PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd be willing to bet a gazillion bucks that this is a yellows virus, very common to Echinacea and many other garden ornamentals. VERY widespread, too.

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is not an exciting new mutation!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 1:28PM
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I agree with rhizo

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 11:30AM
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clfo(z7 with luck)

It is interesting that a plant does not have to act diseased to be diseased. I have a friend who found a variegated rudbeckia in his garden - he was very excited about this until he had it tested at Agdia labs, and learned that it had a virus. The plant has been growing strongly in his garden for four years now.

If you think that you have a new plant the first thing you should do is to send a couple leaves to Agdia and have it tested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Agdia Laboratories

    Bookmark   January 7, 2006 at 4:21PM
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Cindi McMurray

It's been six years since I first posted about the weird growth. I moved to another house, taking my plants with me. The original plant that was so hardy is no more. ALL my echinaceas are now showing signs of this disease, and yes, most definitely it's aster yellows, phytoplasma. I bought every new plant that was introduced--all the Big Sky series, Vintage Wine, the double pink ones under various names, Fragrant Angel, all of them. They now all have the disease and I'm digging them all out. I'm noticing nurseries selling plants that are diseased, so I not only had this in my garden to start with, but I've added strains by buying plants that were carriers. Last week I was in a nursery that had an 8 x 10 photo of an echinacea with the characteristic rosetting, leaflike blooms. They thought it was beautiful and would not believe me when I said it was a disease and they should not be selling plants that looked like that. I didn't believe it six years ago. Clfo was exactly right when he said the plant does not have to act diseased to be diseased. I wish I had disposed of the original plant. I am glad I didn't collect any seeds or share them with anyone.
I did a google search for a treatment, found very little, and the search brought up this old thread. Just wanted to make sure people knew it wasn't a cool new plant, but the start of disaster for a large part of my perennial garden.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 10:04AM
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What a strange thing to happen, Cindi. It sounds like a very exciting event ending in quite a disaster. How are your gardens now, two years later? I was going to add this type of flower to my garden (even wrote in my garden journal tonight that I wanted to buy one this year) and now I will not take the chance. Thanks so much for updating years later on the progress/or lack there of in your garden.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 8:34PM
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This year one half of my echinacea started producing green flowers and then after several weeks small stalks with a mini flower appeared from the flower heads. Very unusual!!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 7:30AM
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Hi Stuart,

I think it is highly likely that your Echinacea also has Aster Yellows, Phytoplasma, like Cindi in Kansas reported on. It is a serious disease, and there is no cure for it. You might want to research what you should do next. You risk losing all of your Echinaceas and possibly other plants as well. Aster Yellows is not confined to Echinaceas (or Asters) and it can be a serious threat if not dealt with properly.

The Aster Yellows virus can be spread by insect vectors. A few years ago it showed up in one of my zinnias, and I disposed of it following very careful precautions, as if it were the Ebola virus of the plant kingdom.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2014 at 1:46PM
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