|"The Look Outs" ©Laura Gable, 8x8 oil painting on board.|
They rise above the lavender bushes in this Louwden Lavendar farm in late summer, where they appear as though they are the look outs at the command post. Maybe they are looking for the invasive sunflower, trying to separate the chaff from the grain in this utopian farm society. Or perhaps it's a wandering dog they will sound the alarms for. I'm sure you can make up your own story.
Wikipedia states that they are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist and dry prairies and open wooded areas. I spied these in Walla Walla, plus we have some growing in our front yard. The name derives from the Greek word echino, meaning "sea urchin" due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers. A few species are of conservation concern.