|Tree Echium, Giant Viper's bugloss, Pine echium|
Webb & Berthel.
Echium pininana, also called Tree Echium, Pine echium and Giant Viper's bugloss, is a plant, native to La Palma in the Canary Islands, that is now cultivated in gardens of Britain and Ireland. Its native habitat is laurel forests, where it is now endangered through habitat loss.
E. pininana is a biennial or triennial, showing little more than leaf in the first year, but subsequently produces a dense, 4 metres (13 ft) high (potentially) flower spike that carries a dense mass of leaves and small blue flowers.
The recommendation is that the plant is suited for the southern maritime counties of England. There are, however, reports of successful cultivation in the English Midlands and Yorkshire, albeit in favourable locations. Specimens are also grown in Dublin gardens and in the Irish National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin. Although E. pininana is half-hardy in Britain and Ireland, it will self-seed to form clusters of plants, and it's suggested that by natural selection a hardier variety will emerge. The plant also grows readily in North Wales where it seeds very widely. It is bi or even tri ennial and most vulnerable to frosts in its first year. Because of its large leaves when partly grown, it is also very susceptible to wind damage. Hence a sheltered garden position is essential.
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