Alpine Sea Holly
Height: 2-3' (60-90cm) Flowering Time: Summer Flower Colour: Blue ____________________________________
Subclass: Dicotyledonae (Dicotyledons) Superorder: Rosidae (Rose Superorder) Order: Umbellales (Umbellifer Order) Family: Apiaceae (Celery Family) Genus: Eryngium (Sea Holly) Species: alpinum (alpine) ____________________________________
Eryngium alpinum is a member of the same family as Cow Parsley, but like many other garden-worthy plants in this Family, it bears no resemblance to its better-known and unloved relatives. In fact, it looks more like a Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), to which it is not related at all. It is a hardy perennial, growing to about 2'-3 tall, with large, tough bright green veined basal leaves, becoming more and more pointed and divided as they go up the stem, and ending in a ruff of spiky bracts that look like steely blue feathers, inside which is the matching domed flower-head. It is difficult to tell exactly when this turns to the seedhead, except by colour, and both the blue flower and dried brown seedhead can be used for floral decoration. The seedheads in particular are prickly.
Eryngium alpinum is hardy to -15oF, and does not seem too fussy about growing conditions.
Harvesting and Growing from Seed:
Seed Pod There is no seed pod. Each individual flower produces its own seed, which is held tightly
in the spiky calyx, forming a large prickly dome.
Seed The seeds are light brown and spiky.
Seedling The seedling has tough heart-shaped leaves.
(You can check the meaning of any technical terms new to you in the Botany section of the site)
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