Eryngium leavenworthii Torr. & A. Gray
Leavenworth's Eryngo, Eryngo, False Purple Thistle
Apiaceae (Carrot Family)
USDA Symbol: ERLE11
Leavenworth’s Eryngo is a prickly, 20-42 in. annual with a leafy stem, broadly branched in the upper portion. Almost the entire plant has some shade of purple. Flowers are minute, purple, and mingled with small, spiny bracts in an elongated, terminal, head-like cluster. These are subtended by conspicuous spiny-tipped bracts. The leaves are deeply lobed, each segment edged and tipped with stiff spines. A tuft of small, rigid, spiny leaves grows out of the top of the flower head. It is desirable to wear a thick pair of gloves if one cuts the flowers.
The eryngos are not true thistles and are often confused with thistles, due to similarity in both appearance and habitat preference. Splashing fields a brilliant purple, it provides an excellent source for late summer and early fall color.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Annual
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Venation: Palmate
Leaf Margin: Pinnatifid
Fruit Type: Schizocarp
Size Notes: Up to about 3-1/2 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov
DistributionUSA: AR , KS , MO , OK , TX , WI
Native Distribution: Throughout TX, except Rio Grande Plains & the Trans-Pecos, n. to s.w. AR & KS
Native Habitat: Rocky prairies; open woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Calcareous soils. Caliche type, Limestone-based Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay
Conditions Comments: Leavenworth's eryngo is a prickly annual with a leafy stem, broadly branched in the upper portion. The strange-looking eryngo is deer-resistant and geometric in form. This plant is very showy and interesting but has purple, alien-like flowers with tough, thorny leaves.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Wildflower meadow. Eryngium leavenworthii is nothing short of fantastic with its metallic purple stems and flowers. Note that the stamens come out as bright blue filaments. When picked (cautiously!), maintains its color and shape, adding a unique touch to dried arrangements.
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects, Cover, Seeds-Granivorous birds
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Although not widely available commercially, E. leavenworthii is easy to establish by planting seed in fall and spring. Seed germinates in 5-10 days at 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results, plant seed immediately after harvesting.
Find Seed or Plants
Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MM-706 Collected 2005-11-01 in Lampasas County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Eryngium leavenworthii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Eryngium leavenworthii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Eryngium leavenworthii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-03-08
Research By: NPC, TMH