Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tower of Jewels, Pride of Tenerife, Tajinaste, Taginaste
Echium pininana

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Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Echium (EK-ee-um) (Info)
Species: pininana (pin-IN-ah-nuh) (Info)

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Biennials
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

Spacing:
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
Rose/Mauve
Blue-Violet

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Silver/Gray

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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to view:

By henkmaters
Thumbnail #1 of Echium pininana by henkmaters

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Thumbnail #2 of Echium pininana by artsch

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Thumbnail #3 of Echium pininana by artsch

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Thumbnail #5 of Echium pininana by JanMaters

By KMAC
Thumbnail #6 of Echium pininana by KMAC

By saya
Thumbnail #7 of Echium pininana by saya

There are a total of 33 photos.
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Profile:

4 positives
4 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral peejay12 On Feb 10, 2014, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've given this a neutral, because I personally have had no success with it, but it does seem to grow well in some, but not all, parts of coastal Cornwall -- and I can't understand why! Perhaps it does best from seed sown direct into the ground?

It relies on the 'wow-factor' rather than its beauty -- the flowers are not especially brilliant, the leaves are rather tatty, and it's very gawky to look at, but in a group it is very unusual and is bound to get many comments.

Experts claim that self sown seedlings in the UK may be hardier now than Canary Island plants because of a sort of natural selection.

Neutral pattymh On May 21, 2013, pattymh from Grass Valley, CA wrote:

I live in Grass Valley, Ca and planted four of these June 2012 after seeing them in an article in the Sac Bee. Two are surviving but I have a question. They both seem to have a "host" plant to the rear of the plant. One has 15 spears about 1'6" and the other 9. The one with 15 is starting to flower with small red flowers. I don't know if I should remove these plants to let the mail rosettes grow or just let them be. Any help would be appreciated as I would really love to have them survive. .

Negative mlml On Sep 1, 2011, mlml from Penngrove, CA wrote:

In response to the Marconi comment:
Spreading this plant may have unfortunate consequences.
It isn't about "native versus non-native" or "hating" non-indigenous plants. Montara Mountain contains a unique assemblage of species, many of which cannot grow just anywhere.
It is about preserving uniqueness, ecosystem functions and complex relationships. Tower of jewels can grow in many places, having many of the adaptability characteristics of invasive plants.
ML

Positive jenniealice On Apr 3, 2011, jenniealice from Fort Bragg, CA wrote:

With little to no care in a shady spot, this plant is enormous. There were a few sources online saying that after a certain period of time it will not bloom again, but I just looked (up) at it today, and it's shooting up a very large blossoming tower. It's 5 years old, past the time it should still be flowering. Ours is the purple variety. I like it--looks like something from Jurassic Park.

Neutral calsea On Mar 15, 2009, calsea from Wake Forest, NC wrote:

I saw this plant (or a variety of it?) in Montara, CA grow 30 feet or more. Does anyone know, are these Tower of Jewels or some other plant?

I agree that it (and other foreign plants) need not be planted in open, natural areas. There are enough invaders along the California Coast without adding more.

I have also seen Tower of Jewels as landscape plants in the Rancho Santa Fe area of San Diego County.

Positive Marconi On Nov 1, 2008, Marconi from Moss Beach, CA wrote:

This is a gorgeous plant. We have one in our backyard that is 18 feet tall at this time although it has bloomed and is looking a little worse for the wear. We only water it occasionally.

Once established it needs next to no care which is great since, we sow seeds from this lovely plant all over Montara Mountain and Milagra Ridge near Pacifica hoping that this plant becomes firmly established here. So far it looks like we're winning over "nativists" that pull them with hundreds of new plants on the slopes over the last three years that we have been working on our project.

I can recommend this plant highly in the coastal areas of San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Marin counties. A magnificent centerpiece of a garden here Coastside.

Positive zone10 On Apr 29, 2005, zone10 from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I grew five plants from seed approx. two years ago and expect them to (hopefully) bloom this summer. They are planted in fairly poor soil on a hill, in partial sun. I have to water them often during dry months, sometimes twice a day during the hottest days of summer. I once came back from a summer vacation to find that the leaves were vertically hugging the stems as they had wilted from lack of water. As soon as they received a good drenching, they perked up and have never slowed in growth. The plants are a stunning centerpiece of my backyard hill (I submitted a photo, hopefully it was made available here) as well as a rare sight in San Diego. I highly recommend you try growing them from seed, especially if you live in So. Cal.

Neutral saya On Aug 22, 2004, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I 've sown E. pininana in februari indoors and planted the seedlings out in june 2004. We've had a cold and wet spring this year. Now (august) the seedlings have grown to nearly 80 cm (four feet)and the stalks are thick about 7 to 8 cm across.The seedlings are planted at a sheltered and usually dry spot where I hope they can endure our usually mild but wet winter.. I hope they'll survive because its growth looks very promissing and their bloom must be striking.. I wanted to see them grow myself because of the pics I've seen in PDB of it. Thanks to all of you!

Negative lupinus On Jun 3, 2003, lupinus wrote:

This plant is invasive along the coast of northern California, and I recommend against using it in landscaping in that region. A single garden planting in Pacifica resulted in a population of hundreds of individuals of this species becoming established in a nearby national park, requiring many days of labor to remove.

Positive teachest On Aug 26, 2002, teachest wrote:

The origin of these tall,architectural plants is the Canary Islands but two species Echium pininana and E. wildpretti are often labelled mistakenly by seedsmen.

The latter has a natural alpine habitat and is found in the high altitude craters in Tenerife where, although it seeds profusely, it is a protected plant known locally as "Taginaste". E. pininana has much lusher and larger leaves and although I have never seen it in its natural habitat, it is quite common in the milder South West gardens of Devon and Cornwall in the UK. It is a very striking plant with its huge flowering spike and it has been known to cross pollinate with E. wildpretti.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Porthleven,
Ferndale, California
Fort Bragg, California
Moss Beach, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
San Mateo, California
Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington



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