Echinops sphaerocephalus

Today is Alexis’s last day working on Botany Photo of the Day, though she’s assembled a number of entries I’ll be using in the upcoming weeks. Alexis writes:

Drew Avery (Drew Avery@Flickr) took these photos (image 1 | image 2) in the Copenhagen Botanical Garden in Denmark. Thank you, Drew!

Echinops sphaerocephalus, growing 50-200cm tall, belongs to the largest family of vascular plants, Asteraceae. A single inflorescence (3-6cm in diameter) is comprised of many tiny florets, each “surrounded by spiny involucral bracts” (Polunin’s Flowers of Europe (1969)). The species is native to Asia and Europe, but is also cultivated elsewhere. It typically blooms from June to September in the northern hemisphere.

The genus name comes from the Greek echinos, meaning “hedgehog”, and opis, meaning “appearance”, likely referring to the inflorescence or the bristly leaves, which have spiny margins. Sphaerocephalus is also derived from Greek and means “sphere- or round-headed“. The species is probably better known as great globe thistle or pale globe thistle. Echinops sphaerocephalus usually occurs in rocky, dry areas and disturbed sites.

Echinops sphaerocephalus
Echinops sphaerocephalus

12 responses to “Echinops sphaerocephalus”

  1. Debra

    Thank you Alexis and good luck in the future!

  2. Caroline

    All the best to you Alexis, and thank you for your entries!

  3. Donald DeLano

    Thanks to you Alexis for the great write-ups, but it is like losing a friend. Hope you get to occasionally sit in as a ‘guest writer’. The future looks bright for you.

  4. kate

    Every year when I visit UBC Botanical Garden, I see this plant looking so fantastic… it’s planted near Lobelia tupa, I think? – and I would love to get ahold of seed. I live in the US – if anyone has a source, let me know!

  5. Rebecca Funderburk

    I sure have been changing my desktop picture a lot lately. There have been so many good photographs!

  6. Peony Fan

    Marvelous photos, thank you. And best wishes to you, Alexis. I think I’ve grown this plant or a kissing cousin–the flowers on my plant (labeled E. ritro, I believe)look similar but with stronger blue coloring. It is a tough, good-looking plant, and the birds enjoy the seed heads in the winter. Unfortunately, in my part of the world (Twin Cities, MN, USA), E. ritro seeds quite a bit. The seedlings are strong-rooted and difficult to remove so I no longer grow this plant. It’s not the plant’s fault; it’s just that I don’t always have time to deadhead, and then I have a sea of seedlings. So, Kate, ask around, someone should be able to give you a plant!

  7. phillip

    …Alexis…thank you for your time, effort, beauty and knowledge of your work..truly…i see the path ahead of you filled with buttercups and violets…enjoy your journey..

  8. Wendy Cutler

    Good job, Alexis. Your entries were clear and interesting, and I don’t think I could have recognized which postings were yours and which Daniel’s. I’m sure we benefited by seeing a lot more postings because you were here.

  9. Diana

    Marvelous job on the clarity of the close-up.
    Best of luck Alexis – looks like you’ve got a lot of fans around the world. Thanks for the great job you’ve done.

  10. Betty

    Good luck, Alexis! I have really enjoyed the photos as well as the explaination of the botanical names. It has been a pleasure!

  11. Knox Henry

    Alexis, thanks so much for your work this past summer. You have done as great job and kept up the excellent standard set by Daniel. All the best in your future endeavors.

  12. Charles Tubesing

    Here are 3 sources, obtained from Plant Information online ( ):
    Diane’s Flower Seeds
    Goodwin Creek Gardens
    Hudson, J. L., Seedsman

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