Echium Pininana Showing Fasciation
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!
At least its in the right country seeing as it thinks its a matador and not a plant!
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.
This one thinks its a delphinium!
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.
Cick here to see a normal echium pininana
- Growing Echium Pininana from Seed
Echium pininana is easily grown from seed. In fact, the plant itself is almost a weed when it finds a home with ideal growing conditions. Seeds are not usually separated from the flower. If you buy this...
- Spanish Garden
Izzy's Spanish Garden Blog