Botanical Name: Echinops setifer
Synonyms: Echinops sphaerocephalus Family: Compositae
Common Names: Globe Thistle
Echinops setifer is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea. It grows on low mountains, C. and S. Japan. Mountain slopes in China. Open grassy areas in Korea.
Echinops setifer is a perennial herb growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). The stem is solitary, whitish to grayish white, unbranched or apically shortly branched, base with dense long multicellular hairs and sparsely cobwebby, below synflorescences densely and thickly cobwebby to lanate.
Leaves are papery, abaxially whitish to grayish white, adaxially green and sparsely strigose but along veins densely cobwebby to thickly lanate and with dense long brown multicellular hairs. Basal and lower cauline leaves shortly petiolate; leaf blade elliptic to oblanceolate-elliptic in outline, 15-25 × 7-14 cm, bipinnatisect; segments 5-7 pairs; lobes narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate-triangular, with spiny and spine-tipped teeth.
Middle and upper cauline leaves pinnatipartite. Uppermost cauline leaves narrowly elliptic. Pseudocephalia 1-3, 4-5 cm in diam. Capitula ca. 2 cm. Phyllaries 17-22, abaxially glabrous; outermost phyllaries oblanceolate, 8-9 mm, unequal, ca. 1/2 as long as involucre, claw margin long ciliate above middle, distal portion brown, broadly elliptic, margin sparsely ciliate, and apex spinulose acuminate; middle phyllaries oblanceolate, margin ciliate, abruptly constricted from maximum width into a 1.4-1.6 cm spiny tip; inner phyllaries elliptic, ca. 1.5 cm, apex dentate. Corolla blue, ca. 1.3 cm, tube outside sparsely gland-dotted.
Achene ca. 7 mm, hairs yellowish. Pappus scales linear, ca. 2 mm, proximal half connate.
It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Succeeds in a sunny position in any well drained soil of low or medium fertility. Tolerates partial shade. Established plants are drought tolerant.
Through seed – sow early spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 9 weeks at 25°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seedbed in mid spring and is then planted out into its permanent position in late summer or the autumn. Division in autumn. Root cuttings in the winter.
Edible Uses: Young leaves are cooked and eaten.
The root is anthelmintic, galactogogue, skin. It has a weak antitumour action. It is used in Korea as an emmenagogue and antidote. It is used in the treatment of breast abscesses with inflammation, mastitis, lack of milk in nursing mothers and distension of the breast.
The echinops is mainly used as a wonderful ornamental specimen. They make for a great and unique addition to a garden bed as a perennial border plant along with shrubs, or as a container plant. They are an exceptional choice for cottage gardens or wildlife gardens too. They also are a prime choice as a cut flower for flower arranging.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.