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Products > Echium simplex
Echium simplex - White Tower of Jewels
Image of Echium simplex
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Boraginaceae (Borages)
Origin: Canary Islands (Atlantic Ocean)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring
Height: 4-8 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Echium simplex (White Tower of Jewells) - A large perennial, biennial or sometimes a triennial (going 3 years) that has attractive silvery gray-green leaves that are covered in smooth hairs above and prominently veined below and are held in tight rosettes atop a short stem. After 2 to 3 years as an attractive foliage plant, a stout solitary unbranched and tapering inflorescence emerges that rises vertically 4 to 9 feet or more in late winter to mid spring bearing small white flowers densely held the entire length.

Plant in full sun and irrigate very little - it is a drought tolerant plant. Hardy to short duration temperatures to 20 to 25 F. A great foliage plant with the bonus of unusual flowers and, though the main plant dies after flowering, it usually perpetuates itself in the garden by seedling about. Useful also as an unusual container plant and when it flowers it is attractive to hummingbirds and to bees, which then reportedly produce a very distinctively flavored honey.

Echium simplex comes from the mountainous Anaga region in the north-east of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. 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. The specific epithet is a Latin word meaning "simple" or "unbranched" in reference to the solitary unbranched inflorescence. Like the red flowering Echium wildpretii, which we also grow, this plant is also called Tower of Jewells and it is also called The Pride Of Tenerife and Arrebol Tajinaste.

Our thanks go out to Matthew Roberts, our Southern California outside salesman, who patiently allowed his plant to linger on past its prime in his garden so he could share its seed with us. 

This information about Echium simplex displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.