Eryngium bourgatii
Common Name: Mediterranean sea holly
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apiaceae
Native Range: Southwestern France, Lebanon, Morocco, Spain, Turkey
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Silver blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, poor to moderately fertile, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, poor soils, drought and saline conditions. Intensity of blue flower/bract color is best in areas with full sun and cool nights. Tall plants tend to sprawl, particularly if grown in moist fertile soils or in anything less than full sun. Deadhead flowers after bloom to retain attractive plant appearance. This is a taprooted plant that transplants poorly and is best left undisturbed once established.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Eryngium bourgatii, sometimes commonly called Mediterranean sea holly, is a somewhat coarse, stiffly-branched, taprooted, rosette-forming herbaceous perennial that typically grows on upright stems to 18-24” tall with a spread to 18” wide. It is native to the Pyrenees. It is noted for its dense, cylindrical, cone-shaped, thistle-like, rounded, terminal flower heads (to 1” diameter) composed of tiny, sessile, densely-packed blue flowers which bloom from mid-summer into fall (July-early October). Each flower head is subtended by a collar of showy, spiny-toothed, gray-green bracts (to 2” long). Gray-green to dark green leaves are marbled with silver-white veins.

Genus name comes from an ancient Greek name used by Theophrastus for a plant which grew in Greece (probably Eryngium campestre) or is a Greek reference to the prickly or spiny nature of plants in this genus.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Dislikes winter wetness and may benefit from a gravel mulch around the crown.

Garden Uses

Borders and beds. Single specimen or small groupings of at least 3-6 plants or massed. Dry, sun-baked beds. Excellent long-lasting cut flower that also dries well.