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Plantidote of the Day 2012-07-24

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sea holly

Eryngium amethystinum

Sea holly, amethyst eryngium

It took more than a year for this sea holly to bloom. I bought the root online, planted it, and stared it for months, while it did ... nothing. It was looking like time to throw in the trowel. But then out of nowhere, leaves!! Followed by bristly little flowers -- lots and lots of flowers -- in the most delicious shade of blue. And there are other shades of blue available.

Sea holly likes full sun, and needs very little water. In the right environment, it can grow to heights of 6 feet. It's best in Zones 4 through 8, but it seems to be thriving here in Zone 10, so who knows? The only downside to this plant is pretty obvious -- the stickers, thorns, whatever you call them. These are not soft, flexible stickers -- they stab you like little needles and there are dozens of them. Wear gloves!

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Readers, please send twig (twig4now@gmail.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the csomments.

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