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Flaigg, Norman G.
Eryngium leavenworthii Torr. & Gray
Leavenworth's eryngo, Eryngo
USDA Symbol: erle11
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Leavenworth’s eryngo is a prickly, 20-40 in. annual with a leafy stem, broadly branched in the upper portion. Almost the entire plant has some shade of purple. Flowers are minute, purple, and mingled with small, spiny bracts in an elongated, terminal, head-like cluster. These are subtended by conspicuous spiny-tipped bracts. The leaves are deeply lobed, each segment edged and tipped with stiff spines. A tuft of small, rigid, spiny leaves grows out of the top of the flower head. It is desirable to wear a thick pair of gloves if one cuts the flowers.
The eryngos are not true thistles and are often confused with thistles, due to similarity in both appearance and habitat preference. Splashing fields a brilliant purple, it provides an excellent source for late summer and early fall color.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Shape: Ovate Leaf Venation: Palmate Leaf Margin:
Pinnatifid Size Notes:
1.5-3.5 feet. Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
AR , KS , MO , OK , TX , WI Native Distribution:
Throughout TX, except Rio Grande Plains & the Trans-Pecos, n. to s.w. AR & KS Native Habitat:
Rocky prairies; open woods USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Low Light Requirement:
Sun , Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Soil Description:
Calcareous soils. Caliche type, Limestone-based Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam
Clay Conditions Comments:
Leavenworths eryngo is a prickly annual
with a leafy stem,
broadly branched in the upper portion. The strange-looking eryngo is deer-resistant and geometric in form. This plant is very showy and interesting but has purple, alien-like flowers with tough, thorny leaves.
Attractive, Wildflower meadow. Eryngium leavenworthii is nothing short of fantastic with its metallic purple stems and flowers. Note that the stamens
come out as bright blue filaments. When picked (cautiously!), maintains its color and shape, adding a unique touch to dried arrangements. Use Wildlife:
Nectar-insects, Cover, Seeds-Granivorous birds Conspicuous Flowers:
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Although not widely available commercially, E. leavenworthii is easy to establish by planting seed in fall and spring. Seed germinates in 5-10 days at 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results, plant seed immediately after harvesting.
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- Austin, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MM-706
Collected 2009-11-02 in Lampasas County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2011-01-06
Research By: NPC, TMH