What is that plant?

Echium.png

In 2017 we heard this question quite often as bees and visitors fell in love with Echium found growing in groupings along the railway line and on the grass road at the Farm.

Echium pininana, also called tree echium, pine echium and giant viper's-bugloss, is a plant, native to La Palma in the Canary Islands, that is now cultivated in gardens of Great Britain. Its native habitat is laurel forests, where it is now endangered due to habitat loss.

A biennial or triennial, showing little more than leaf in the first year, but subsequently produces a dense, 4 metres (13 ft) high (potentially) flower spike that carries a dense mass of leaves and small blue flowers. The plant is susceptible to frosts and wind damage so a sheltered garden position is preferable for success.