Eryngium heterophyllum Engelm.
Mexican thistle, Wright's eryngo
Apiaceae (Carrot Family)
Synonym(s): Eryngium wrightii
USDA Symbol: erhe3
This whole plant has a silvery thistle look. The leaves as well as the bracts around the flower are bristle-toothed. It grows 1 1/2-2 feet tall, with a heavy, stout stem densely branched on the upper half. The stems are smooth, but the leaves are divided into sharp lobes on each side of a midrib. The flowers are clustered on a more or less egg-shaped head, up to 3/5 inch long and smaller at the end and about 1/2 inch across. They are surrounded by showy, spiny leaf bracts. When the tiny, silvery-looking flowers mature, they turn sky-blue.
This large genus of mostly temperate regions resembles the thistles of the aster family (Asteraceae) in their prickliness, but the flowers reveal that these species belong to the carrot family. In Europe roots of some species are candied, and in South America the fiber caraguata is obtained from the leaves of one. In North America curative powers have been ascribed to some species.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
DistributionUSA: AZ , LA , NM , TX
Native Distribution: Southeastern Arizona east to western Texas and south to Mexico.
Native Habitat: Sandy soil in grasslands, open woods, and along watercourses, usually in mountains.
BenefitUse Ornamental: It is an attractive plant, suited for use in flower arrangements, as the flowers hold their form and color for an extended period and can be handled easily enough if one is careful in cutting them.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.