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Products > Echium candicans
 
Echium candicans - Pride of Madeira
   

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Boraginaceae (Borages)
Origin: Madeira Islands (Atlantic Ocean)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Blue Violet
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Echium fastuosum]
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Echium candicans (Pride of Madeira) - A rapidly growing evergreen shrub to 4 to 6 feet or more tall or more by as wide with long, narrow, gray-green leaves held at the ends of the branches. Rising above the foliage in spring on into early summer are the large 20 inch long flower stalks bearing small bluish-purple flowers with reddish stamens. Plant in full sun in most any type of soil and irrigate occasionally to not at all. Once established plants require no additional irrigation in coastal gardens though inland plantings will appreciate occasional irrigation and protection from cold - reliably cold hardy for short durations down to about 25 degrees F and some claim a bit colder. This is a great plant for mild coastal climates and seaside gardens on a slope or in an area with room to spread out and it is attractive to honey bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, but unpalatable to deer and other browsers. Pride of Madeira often reseeds itself in the garden and, as this plant is relatively short lived (generally 4-6 years but some living up to 10 years), allow seedlings to replace older woodier plants. Prune flower inflorescences off after flowering to tidy up the plant and cut back hard in late fall to reduce size and encourage new growth from lower branches - leaves have slightly irritating hairs so remember to wear gloves when handling. Note also that very little will grow under an established Echium candicans, so it is best not to put precious plants near a young one that will no doubt grow larger and suppress the other plant. As the common name Pride of Madeira implies, this comes from and is endemic to the island of Madeira, where it grows on rocky cliffs and terraces between 2,500 and 4,600 feet in the Central Mountain Massif. It is considered rare in nature and possibly threatened because of wildfire potential in its native range but has naturalized in New Zealand and Australia. Though not officially considered invasive in California it has reportedly escaped cultivation near the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and in north San Diego County and consideration of its weed potential needs to be considered when planting near the urban wild land interface in this area. The genus name is from an ancient Greek word for the plant. It is derived from 'echion' with the root word 'echis' meaning "viper" but the reason for this has several interpretations. Included among these are the shape of the seed resembling that of a viper's head and from the age-old belief that Echium vulgare, a plant called Viper's Bugloss, was a remedy for the adder's bite. This plant was long called Echium fastuosum but more recently Echium candicans has been determined to be the correct name - unfortunate as the name 'candicans' means "white" while 'fastuosum' means "proud". This plant received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 2002. We grow the species from seed but also grow several selected cutting grown selections, including 'Select Blue', 'Rincon Blue' and 'San Bruno Pink' as well as a variegated foliage form with blue flowers called 'Star of Madeira' This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Echium candicans [E. fastuosum, Hort.].