This attractive sea holly is displaying metallic blue flowers and foliage on the Mediterranean Beds.
One of approximately 230 sea hollies, Eryngium creticum is a valuable plant for a hot, sunny position. A native of southern Europe and south west Asia, it grows in calcareous soils in wasteland, fallow fields, roadsides and olive groves. It produces spiny branched stems to 50cm high, and the flower umbels are held within a spreading, prickly bract. This species has long been valued for its medicinal and ethnobotanical properties, with young foliage being eaten as a vegetable in Cyprus, and a herbal remedy being used to treat snake and scorpion bites. In the garden it is a valuable herbaceous species, providing structural interest.