Eryngium, also known as Sea Holly, is a genus of about 250 species in the family Apiaceae, mostly native to Europe and the Mediterranean. Most species are perennials, but some are annuals.
The Sea Holly produces showy and attractive thistle-like flower heads surrounded by spiny silvery-blue bracts on strong stems. These sun loving plants will bloom in summer and attract butterflies and bees to your garden.
The genus name “Eryngium” comes from the name used for a plant in ancient Greece. The name was used by Theophrastus, also called as Father of Botany, probably for a plant Eryngium campestre.
The common name “Sea Holly” comes from the fact that some Native Americans used it to cure rattlesnake bites.
Eryngium is a symbol of independence, severity and attraction.
Interesting facts about Eryngium:
Benefits and Uses
The plant is used in medicine as an antitussive, diuretic and stimulant. It is used to treat diseases of the liver and kidneys, as well as to treat coughs and urinary infections.
Eryngium maritime was considered to be highly aphrodisiac. In Shakespeare’s time the roots of Sea Holly were known to be a strong aphrodisiac.
A number of species of Eryngium have been cultivated as garden plants.
These plants are excellent for cut or dried flower arrangements. They are often used in wedding bouquets.
Eryngiums are usually blue, purple, green or whitish.
They can range from 30 cm (1 ft) to 150 cm (5 ft) tall, depending on the species.
These plants need good drainage and plenty of sun. They are not particular about soil pH and will tolerate poor and sandy soils. The plant has a long taproot, which makes it drought tolerant.