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Flat sea holly is a unique plant that is an umbellifer, yet its appearance is not typical of an umbellifer. This plant thrives in dry, sunny spots and the hard structure and the smooth waxy surface of the shoot protects this plant from drying out even in hot weather. The unique colour of the sea holly (anthocyan pigments) protects the plant from the negative effects of overexposure to sun radiation. Although this is a commonly cultivated plant, it also grows in the wild. Flat sea holly is native to Europe and parts of Asia, where it has long been used in traditional herbal medicine.
This perennial is easy to identify due to the bold clusters of steel-blue/lavender, ball-shaped flowers with colorful bracts at the ends of the stems from early summer to early fall.
The flat sea holly has an attractive blue, purple/lavender, gray/silver flower. The long-lasting flower head is a spherical-cylindrical umbel that measures about 5cm (2”) across. A narrow, spiky collar of spiny, bracts surround the flower. This flower is usually in bloom from June to September.
Leaves are deeply toothed, spiny, and are elliptic to oblong in shape. They are arranged alternately on the stems. The lower, basal leaves are elongated and stalked. The leaf margins are serrated.
This plant grows from 60 cm to 1 metre (2 to 3’) tall.
This plant thrives in sunny locations in soils that are well-drained. In dry locations, the stems and bracts become more intense. Flat sea holly grows throughout the U.S. and in several areas in Canada.
Eryngium species are a rich source of flavonoids. Young shoots and leaves are edible but only in small quantities. Although not confirmed, the roots of this species may be edible.
EdibleWildFood.com is informational in nature. While we strive to be 100% accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification. Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects.
We are not health professionals, medical doctors, nor are we nutritionists. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed in this web site. Please click here for more information.