Echinops ritro

9 Jun

Echinops ritro detail (21/05/2011, London)

Echinops ritro detail (21/05/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Early to mid summer

Eventual Height: 100cm

Eventual Spread: 40cm

Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Asteraceae

Echinops ritro is a deciduous perennial with a compact, clump forming habit. It has oblong-elliptic, pinnatifid to pinnatisect, stiff, spiny, dark green leaves that are cobwebby above and white downy below. Its flowers are spherical and metallic blue before the florets open, where they will mature to a brighter blue.

Echinops ritro (21/05/2011, London)

Echinops ritro (21/05/2011, London)

Echinops ritro, commonly known as the Globe Thistle or Blue Hedgehog, is native to southern Europe and was introduced to England in 1570, becoming a popular plant in Victorian garden during the 19th century.

Echinops is derived from Greek echinos meaning ‘a hedgehog’ and opsis meaning ‘like’ in reference to the form of the flowers, with ritro being possibly derived from an old name for a plant with thorns in central to southern Europe.

The landscape architect may find Echinops ritro useful for its bold architectural form. It is useful when designing a wildlife garden as it attracts many types of butterfly and moth.

Echinops ritro will tolerate many soil conditions; it will be happy in acid, neutral or alkaline pH levels, in loam, sand, or chalk based soils and will prefer an exposed location facing any aspect except north.

Echinops ritro flower (18/06/2011, London)

Echinops ritro flower (18/06/2011, London)

Ecologically, Echinops ritro will attract a wide variety of pollinating insects including bees, moths and butterflies. Thee seeds provide food for finches and other seed eating birds.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Echinops ritro their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Echinops ritro requires little to no care; the flowers may be deadheaded to prevent self-seeding. Large clumps may be divided from September to may.

Davis Landscape Architecture


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