Echinops


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Echinops

 

(globe thistle), a genus of plants of the family Compositae. They are perennial and, less frequently, annual herbs. The leaves are alternate, pinnatipartite, and prickly. The bisexual, tubular flowers are light blue, grayish, or white; they are borne singly in heads, which are gathered into spherical inflorescences. The fruit is a cylindric achene. There are more than 100 species, distributed primarily in the temperate zones of Eurasia and Africa. Approximately 60 species are found in the USSR, mainly in the arid regions of the Caucasus and Middle Asia. Echinops sphaerocephalus and E. ritro are widespread. The plants yield significant quantities of nectar. Sometimes they cause poisoning of livestock. The alkaloid echinopsine is obtained from the fruits. The seeds contain an oil that can be used industrially. Several species, including E. ritro, are cultivated as ornamentals.

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Expert tip: Although echinops are perennials, it is best to plant new globe thistles every four years.
This condition is fairly common and may be noted in various degrees of conglomeration in the genera Nassauvia (Mutisieae), Echinops (Cardueae), Elephantopus (Vernonieae), and Espeletia (Heliantheae), to name but a few.
They work best with plants that make long thick roots such as Acanthus, Echinops, Verbascum and Oriental poppies.
In this idyllic setting with far-reaching views across the Colne Valley, the couple have created a delightful garden brimming with striking plants including ligularia, oriental poppies, echinops ritro, giant knapweed, alliums, hemerocallis, deep blue Veronicas and the soft silver foliage of stachys lanata.
Take root cuttings of border perennials such as acanthus, border phlox, echinops, oriental poppies and verbascum, then put them in a cold frame or greenhouse.
TIME-SAVING TIP If you hate the bother of staking plants, put in some self-supporting varieties including Digitalis (foxglove), Kniphofia (red hot poker), Rudbeckia (coneflower) and Echinops (globe thistle).
Plants such as the sedums, cone flowers, Echinops and pot marigolds are firm favourites, the latter being a real draw for red admirals.
A few of the most prominent companions of this Artemisia are Ephedra pachyclada, Atraphaxis spinosa, Tanacetum sinaicum, Centaurea scoparia, Echinops glaberrimus, and Gymnocarpos decander.
There's a surprisingly wide choice of plants that will survive and thrive in a well-drained gravel garden in a sunny spot, including alliums, ceanothus, salvia, lavender, rosemary, thyme, echinops, nepeta and cosmos, as well as a variety of ornamental grasses.
SPIRIT OF THE BEES (left) GARDEN designer Janey Auchincloss and architect Paul Hammond produced an attention-grabbing garden that highlighted the plight of the bee and showed how we can all do our bit for wildlife even in a small urban space by choosing not only wild flowers but ornamental plants which attract bees, such as salvia, echinops and lavender.
Echinops ritro not only behaves itself but also supports bees and butterflies.