Echium Pininana Showing Fasciation

echium pininana showing fasciation
echium pininana showing fasciation | Source

If you are familiar with the plant echium pininana, you will know that it is a bi- or tri-ennial plant that grows upwards, resulting in a huge spike of flowers that can reach 15 feet or more high. It's an incredible and really impressive looking plant.

The echium pininana does not take kindly to frost, however, and even as little as minus 5 degrees centigrade is enough to kill it. However, if yours dies in the winter after flowering you may find that is perfectly normal. It flowers, it dies. It has served its purpose. Don't feel sad. Many annual flowers do this too.

Unlike the plant, seeds do survive frost quite well and really if you have a garden in which echium pininanas grow and thrive, you will eventually find yourself uprooting its seedlings as they tend to get everywhere, even where you don't want them to grow.

My dad's garden in South West Scotland is like this. Not only does he have the most amazing looking echiums in flower every year now (there are so many of them, even though in his garden they only flower once every three years, there is always one or two ready to flower), but all his neighbours do too. Wind-borne, the seeds do not just stay in your garden.

I took some seeds of his plants to Spain with me. It felt to me like a I was taking them home, as their original home is on Tenerife, a warm and windy island in the Atlantic, off the coast of Africa.

Look instead what happened to mine! Have you ever seen such weird growth in your life?

Edit - The very knowledgeable Bard of Ely has kindly pointed out to me that there is indeed a name for this physiological freaky condition in plants.It is known as cristation or fasciation, and although quite rare, it is not understood what mechanism causes this defect in some plants.

Normally echiums grow upright. Single stem, broad wide leaves. The ones I have have thin narrow leaves and the the stem has elongated sideways, much like the deck of card soldiers in Alice in Wonderland!

echium | Source
fasciated echium
fasciated echium | Source
fasciated echium pininana
fasciated echium pininana

At least its in the right country seeing as it thinks its a matador and not a plant!


Spanish fasciated echium
Spanish fasciated echium | Source
fasciated echium pininana
fasciated echium pininana | Source
fasciated echium and nasturtium
fasciated echium and nasturtium | Source

Now if it was just one plant growing sideways instead of upwards, you might be mistaken for thinking it was just a fluke of nature, but look at this other one too!

This one is planted on a dry bank, in deep soil and in full sun.Not the best position for any plant I agree, but it coped OK last year.

echium pininana with fasciation
echium pininana with fasciation

This one thinks its a delphinium!

fasciated echium
fasciated echium | Source

This one is barely a year old, yet flowering, having never put on much growth nor height.

Read more about this echium pininana with fasciation.

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Comments 11 comments

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

It is an odd plant. We have a Hubber here who lives on Tenerife - he may know something about this unusual plant of yours. Interesting Hub - thanks for sharing.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

It is fascinating to see these photos of unexpected plant growth. Do you have such a thing as an agricultural extension dept. from a local college that could send someone to look at these interesting plants? Whatever is happening is incredible. Thanks for posting. Thumbs Up and many ratings.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

@ suziecat, if you mean Bard - he is still waiting on me sending him seeds of this plant that I promised him months ago. He'll get them this week - I'll post them tomorrow. Let's see if his grow as oddly.

@Patty, I've just asked my partner and he thinks there might be a dept in Alicante who may be interested, so I'll need to look them up and phone them, else email thse pictures to them.

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Strange. Not one that I am familiar with

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

This plant only grows in the warmer parts of the UK Ethel, so you might not have seen it, but basically it looks nothing like the photos above. Thanks for commenting :)

Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

The weird shaped ones are cristate. It is a known form of mutation. I have seen Echium simplex like it here. I have also seen a lot of other plants like it before. Google it and you will find plenty about the term and examples. It doesn't come from Tenerife but from La Palma where it is now exceedingly rare.

Did you send me the seeds after?

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I'd got the packets ready to send, but the seed in them is a couple of years old now. I'll collect some nice fresh seed from the plants that are flowering now. They should be ready for collecting soon.

Thanks for that info. Cristate. Off to look it up now. I'd searched already for someone else who had seen this growth but without knowing the word couldn't find anything at all.

Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Cristate in Latin becomes "cristata" and rfers to the crest-like appearance. It is also known as "fasciated". Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

That is fantastic information Bard! Now I can rename this hub because I had no idea this condition existed.

Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

I am going to get round to doing one about the fasciated echiums I found here! Thanks for the idea!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome - I had never seen one before and I'm sure it'll make a fascinating hub. I've now changed the title of this hub and included a link to you in the first paragraph. If you do a fasciation hub I'll link it from here too.

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