Sea holly Eryngiums maritimum

Tall, spiky and blue-ish-green, sea holly certainly has a distinctive appearance.

Even stranger, it isn't related to the red-berried holly common to Christmas decorations - its actually part of the carrot family!

Sea-holly is the county flower of Liverpool and still grows on the dunes of the Wirral. Find out what your county's Flower is by clicking here.

Distribution

Found in scattered locations all over the English and Welsh coast. It is less common in the north-east of England and Scotland.

Habitat

Sandy shores and dunes.

Best time to see

Its powder-blue flowers appear in July and stay to September.

Did you know...

The candied roots of sea holly (or 'eringoe' as it was known) were once a popular delicacy and considered an aphrodisiac. Shakespeare even has Falstaff mention them in Act 5, Scene 5 of the Merry Wives of Windsor:

"Let the sky rain potatoes;let it thunder to the tune of Green-sleeves,hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes,let there come a tempest of provocation..."