Eryngium, also known as Sea Holly, is a genus of about 250 species in the family Apiaceae, mostly native to the Mediterranean. Most of these species are perennials, but some are annuals.
They produce 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 origin of the genus name “Eryngium” is somewhat obscure, but is thought to derive from an ancient Greek name used for a plant Eryngium campestre. The name was used by Theophrastus, who was known as the father of botany in 350 BC.
Eryngium is commonly known as “Sea Holly” because of its spiky, silvery leaves.
Eryngium is a symbol of independence, severity and attraction.
Interesting facts about Eryngium
Benefits and Uses
This 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, and they are often used in wedding bouquets.
Eryngium Plant Data
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.