READY SOON. Echium Russicum is an uncommon and unusual plant, totally hardy despite its exotic looks, which has whorls of long lance-shaped dark green leaves and through the summer produces numerous long flowering spikes in a stunning deep russetty red hue. Full sun. Well drained soil. 20 in. 2 litre pot.
When echiums are mentioned, people tend to think of the giant towering specimens that hail from the Canary Islands (Echium Pininana) or indeed the rather lesser but still pretty statuesque Pride of Madeira (Echium Candicans). Both of these are magnificent in their own right, but are rather too biennial, rather too large and rather too tender to be suitable for most garden situations. Echium Russicum is a much more approachable proposition and well suited to the smaller garden.
Echium Russicum has proved very hardy for us, getting through even the bitter winter of 2008-2009 unprotected and unscathed. A little star. We find it is best to cut back the flowering stems before seed sets to maintain perennial vigour.
The common name Viper's Bugloss may be explained thus: the bugloss bit means ox's tongue, presumably a reference to the coarse leaves, and echium is derived from the Greek word for viper, possibly because the seeds resemble a snake's head. Having said that, the plant has been held to be a remedy for snakebite since at least the first century AD, and Culpeper in his Complete Herbal wrote of echium 'It is an especial remedy against the biting of the Viper, and all other venomous beasts, or serpents'.
You may be interested to read a short blog post by a happy owner of Echium Russicum here.
Echium Russicum is a hardy perennial plant with a rosette of lance-shaped leaves and spikes of deep red flowers in summer suitable for full sun and dry soil.
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