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Echium plantagineum is a Annual/Biennial up to 0.60 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, Lepidoptera
Grows best in an open, sunny position in moderately fertile, well-drained soils[
]. Rich soils promote lush leaf growth at the expense of flowering[
There has been an increase in interest in a number of Echium species, especially Echium plantagineum, because of the fatty acid composition of the seed oil[
]. Like borage and evening primrose oil, it contains significant amounts of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), but it also contains the rarer stearidonic acid (SdA), which is also an important intermediate in the production of a number of important compounds in the body[
]. Both acids are made by the same enzyme, and their effects are complimentary, so the oil is potentially valuable as a health food and cosmetic component[
The seed oil from Echium contains a unique ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids[
]. These lipids, previously obtained from other plant sources, have been used for many years in food supplements[
]. Of potential interest for health food applications are the appreciable amounts of g-linolenic acid (GLA) as well as the unusual polyunsaturated fatty acid, stearidonic acid. Stearidonic acid is the equivalent position of GLA in the omega-3 metabolic pathway[
The oil obtained from the seed is potentially valuable as a cosmetic component because of its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory action[
Seed - sow late winter-May or August-late autumn in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 15°c.
If the seed is in short supply then it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.