One of several globe thistles, this species is towering over it’s close relatives on the Systematic Beds.
A member of the Asteraceae, or daisy family, Echinops bannaticus has a globular head of numerous individual, cylindrical, pale blue flowers. Close inspection shows that each individual flower comprises one central floret surrounded by involucral bracts. The leaves are softly hairy, spiny, and grey-green in colour, while the stems are also hairy and reach 1.5m in height. This species is a native of southeastern Europe, where it grows in dry hillsides and meadows, and as with all the globe thistles, it is a valuable plant for a dry garden. As with all members of the genus, the flowers are nectar-rich and highly attractive to bees. The name Echinops comes from the Greek echinos, a hedgehog, and ops, appearance, and the specific name bannaticus comes from the Banat region of central Europe, which sits between Romania, Hungary and Serbia, where this plant naturally occurs.