Boraginaceae includes approximately 117 genera of trees, shrubs, herbs, and a few woody climbers distributed from the tropics to temperate zones. A few species are used as culinary or medicinal herbs, and certain larger tree species are cut for timber. Leaves are usually simple, often narrow, sometimes hairy or scaly, sometimes rough enough to be used as fine sandpaper. Flowers are bisexual, or unisexual with male and female flowers on different plants. They are radially or bilaterally symmetrical or irregular, wheel – like, tubular, or funnel shaped. They usually have 5 sepals and 5 petals.
Echium includes 35-40 species of biennial and perennial herbs and shrubs from the Canary Islands, Madeira, the Mediterranean region, and the Near East. The genus name means “spine” but in this case alludes to a viper’s sting as certain species were supposed to cure snake bite. The cultivated species are mostly xeric species from the Atlantic islands well adapted to mild dry climates such as coastal California with little rain but frequent morning mists. Leaves are simple and rough. Flowers are funnel shaped. The species listed here generally do not need encouragement to be prolific. In fact, fertilizer and water encourage ranginess and inhibit flowering. Biennial species bloom in the second year and then die. Start new plants annually for yearly bloom. These species are mostly bee pollinate. A number of rare Echium species grow at Quail Botanical Garden.
Pride of madeira, masarocco
Synonym: E. fastuosum. Madeira lslands. Biennial or perennial shrub to 6 ft, zones 8-10. Blooms spring. Fairly dry. Average to poor, well drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: small, funnel shaped, blue – violet and white or pure white, in spirelike panicles, calyx reddish. Leaves: lanceolate, coarsely hairy, gray – green, clustered near the ends of the branches. Branching from the base. A xeric, mounding shrub suitable for poor soil and dry climate or seaside locations. Prune sharply after flowering. Supposedly resistant to deer. A pest in New Zealand and Australia.
Canary Islands. Biennial or perennial shrub to 6 ft, zones 8-10. Blooms late spring, summer. Moderate moisture to dry. Average to poor, well drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: small, funnel shaped, white, throat magenta pink. Leaves: oblanceolate, 4-5 in. long, clustered at the ends of stout branches. Unusual in cultivation.
Isarael. Perennial spreading sub shrub to 18 in, zones 8-11. Blooms spring, summer Fairly dry. Average to poor, well drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: Funnel shaped, blue violet, in tiny inflorescences at the ends of slender branches. Leaves: