Common name: Blue devil
Eryngium ovinum A.Cunn. APNI*
Description: Stiffly erect annual or short-lived perennial herb, 15–60 cm high, upper parts often metallic blue in colour.
Basal leaves pinnatisect, 10–25 cm long, segments linear, pungent; stem leaves 1–6 cm long, less divided.
Inflorescence a compound dichasium, bracteate at each branching junction, bracts opposite, gradually decreasing in size up the inflorescence, deeply cleft with spinose tips; the ultimate inflorescence unit a head with spinose bracts scattered throughout; flower heads ovoid to globose, 6–13 mm long, 6–11 mm diam.; bracts linear, 5–20 mm long, rigid, pungent, greenish when immature becoming metallic blue. Flowers blue.
Fruit 2.5–4 mm long, covered with acute bladdery scales and crowned by persistent sepals.
Flowering: mainly November–January
Distribution and occurrence: Widespread, chiefly in inland districts, west to Hay district.
Grows in damp clayey or sandy soils of open woodland and disturbed roadside sites and pastures.
NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, NT, CT, ST, NWS, CWS, SWS, NWP, SWP
Other Australian states: Qld Vic. Tas. S.A. N.T.
Eryngium ovinum has previously been treated as a synonym of Eryngium rostratum, e.g. J.M.Powell & B.M.Wiecek in G.J.Harden (ed.), Fl. New South Wales 3: 92 (1992). The name Eryngium rostratum has been widely used in the Australia literature, but this species is endemic to Chile in South America.
Text by J. M. Powell & B. M. Wiecek (revised by P.G. Kodela, February 2011)
Taxon concept: P.W.Michael, Telopea 7(2): 173-174 (1997)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.