This towering species brings a touch of the exotic to the Glasshouse Bays.
A native of the Canary Islands, Echium pininana is a distinct biennial, or short-lived perennial, belonging to the borage family (Boraginaceae). One of approximately 40 species from stony hillsides, steppes cliffs and woodlands of Europe, Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Africa and west Asia, E. pininana thrives in a well-drained, sunny position. In its first year it develops a basal rosette of bristly foliage, and in its second year it produces a flower spike reaching 4m in height and comprising many small cymes of bell-shaped flowers nestling amongst bristly bracts. As they age the individual cymes extend and the flowers fade from blue to pale. In the right conditions this species makes not only a dramatic statement, but also provides a valuable source of nectar for bees.