Echinops spinosus L.
Echinops creticus Boiss. & Heldr.
Echinops glandulosus E.Weiss
Echinops viscosus DC.
Echinops gaillardotii Boiss.
Echinops polyceras Boiss.
Echinops choetocephalus Pomel
Echinops echinophorus Boiss.
Echinops tunetanus Vahl ex Vitman
Echinops bithynicus Boiss.
Echinops neumayeri Vis.
Echinops syriacus Boiss.
Echinops bovei Boiss.
Echinops fontqueri Pau
Echinops maurus Maire
Echinops spinosissimus is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing one or more branched stems 50 - 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild, mainly for medicinal use but also for food and as a tinder. The root is sold as a medicine in local markets and the aerial part of the plant is sold in small bundles in traditional markets[
]. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
Mediterranean region - Italy to the Levant; Morocco to Egypt.
Fields and rocky places[
]. Steppe and stony slopes[
]. Coastal calcareous dunes, on sandy wadi beds, and on gravelly to rocky surfaces where the plant shows an ecological optimum[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Echinops spinosissimus thrives in desert conditions, tolerating a mean annual rainfall that can be as low as 20 - 100mm[
Succeeds in a sunny position in any well drained soil of low or medium fertility[
]. Most species in this genus thrive in hot, dry soils[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
Yields a gum that is used for chewing[
The tender part of the flowers is eaten like an artichoke[
The aerial part of the plant is edible and sold in small bundles in traditional markets[
The roots, and to a lesser extent the stems, leaves and flower heads are used medicinally[
The roots are collected in the autumn; the flower heads are picked in the summer[
Prepared as a decoction, and as a powder, they are taken internally[
The plant contains sesquiterpene lactones, acetylenic elements belonging to the Thiophen type[
The plant is abortifacient, antiinflammatory, depurative, diuretic, haemostatic, hypoglycaemic and vasoconstrictor. It has been shown to have an efficient action on muscular fibres[
]. It is used to improve blood circulation, and to treat a wide range of conditions including hypertension, liver diseases, prostate problems, diabetes, dysmenorrhoea, metrorrhagia, gastric pain, indigestion, lack of appetite, haemorrhoids, spasmolytic and varicose problems[
]. In Morocco, it is mainly used to ease childbirth - a decoction of the roots in either water or olive oil is given to help the woman evacuate the placenta; this same concoction is also given before the birth to stimulate contractions[
The plant has been used for tinder[
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[