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:
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.