Harvest when approximately 50% of the flowers are open.
Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster or sunflower) family.
Native to Southeastern Europe, Czechoslovakia.
Related species include chrysanthemum, dahlia, marigold, zinnia, lettuce.
Ball-shaped flower heads are 2 inches in diameter, composed of steel blue bristle-like bracts and blue feathery flowers.
Stems are 24-36 inches long, above clumps of spiny, divided leaves.
Plant is a herbaceous perennial, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
Flowers are not fragrant.
40F, 7-10 days in water.
From the Greek “echinos” (a hedgehog) and “ops” (appearance), referring to the spiny flower heads.
‘Taplow Blue’ is a very popular cultivar with very intense blue flower heads.
The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a “composite” of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one “petal” off at a time, saying “she/he loves me, loves me not”, they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
Suitable for drying if harvested before full bloom.