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Commonly known as Alpine eryngo, Sea holly
Genus of 230 species annuals, biennials and deciduous and evergreen perennials, some very decorative.
Those from dry areas of Europe, northern Africa, Turkey, central Asia, China and Korea usually have tap roots. Those from wetter areas and marshy grassland in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and warm-temperate regions of North, Central and South America have fibrous roots.
Most have spiny leaves and thistle-like flowers. They are striking plants for naturalizing and can be dried for arrangements if flowers are cut before becoming fully open.
Many species have been used for food and medicine.
All attract bees and other insects.
UK native E. maritimus, Sea holly is found in sand dunes and on shingle sea shores. The roots used to be candied with sugar and orange flower water and used as an aphrodisiac.
Field eryngo, E. campestre, a native perennial of dry, grassy places is rare and found only in the south of England.
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Deciduous - ovate to heart-shaped, spiny-toothed, mid-green basal leaves 8-15cm (3-6in) long, and palmately 3-lobed stem leaves
Height - 70cm (28in)
Spread - 45cm (18in)
Herbaceous - Early in the year, typically January till end of March, herbaceous plants might be supplied in 9cm pots to ensure timely despatch. - rosette-forming, tap-rooted perennial. Branched stems produce cylindrical umbels to 4cm (1½in) long of flowers with softly spiny bracts to 6cm (2½in) long
Hardy - average winter - Hardy through most of the UK apart from inland valleys, at altitude and central/northerly locations. May suffer foliage damage and stem dieback in harsh winters in cold gardens. Plant can withstand temperatures down to -10°C (14°F)
Additional Features - Pests & Diseases - - slugs, snails, root rot, powdery mildew
Place of origin - central and southeastern Europe
Hardiness - Frost hardy (down to -5) -
Soil Conditions - Well drained, dry, poor to moderately fertile soil - - protect from winter wet
Wildlife - Bee friendly -
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