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Featured Plant

Echium spp.


Scientific Name: Echium spp.

Common Name: 

Family: Boraginaceae

Plant Type: Flowering, herbaceous

Environment: Drought tolerant, good drainage, likes full sun but can handle shade as well

Bloom: April-June

Uses: Considered a weed and some species are quite invasive, however, if you are looking for something that requires very little or no care, Echium might be an interesting choice.

Other: Echium plantegineum (Patterson's Curse) is a major invasive species in Australia. Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction


Echium can be found in:

Demonstration Garden (Bed 3E),

Garden of Fragrance (Bed 9), the California Garden (Bed 31) and

Redwood Trail (Bed 48.)



Echium spp.

The massive spikes of lavender flowers, often reaching 6 feet high, that appear each spring in background spots around SFBG, are species of Echium, a shrub from the Mediterranean area, the island of Madera and the Canary Islands. Echium has become widely naturalized along our west coast, especially at the edge of the bay or along sunny coastal bluffs above the ocean. Called “Tower of Jewels” or “Pride of Madera”, depending on the species, Echium is an energetic member of the Borage family with invasive tendencies that have elicited warnings of “do not plant” from as far away as Australia and New Zealand where it has become a nuisance!

In bloom, it is undeniably an eye stopper, with its dense panicles of deep blue forget-me-not type flowers borne terminally above massive branches of dusty linear leaves, often bristly to the touch and sometimes causing a rash.

Echium has positive attributes. When in bloom, it is a magnet for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, is deer resistant, hardy and drought tolerant. Its needs are sun, good drainage and occasional watering.


Joanne Taylor and Kathy McNeil,\; Profile Contributor: David Kruse-Pickler


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