Erinus alpinus, the fairy foxglove,[1] alpine balsam,[2] starflower, or liver balsam, is a species of flowering plant in the family Plantaginaceae (previously in the family Scrophulariaceae), native to Central and Southern Europe and also to Morocco and Algeria.

Erinus alpinus
Erinus alpinus flowering in a crack in mortar
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Erinus
E. alpinus
Binomial name
Erinus alpinus

Description edit

Erinus alpinus is a semi-evergreen, perennial chasmophyte with 10 cm (4 in) stems of narrow blue-green leaves and clusters of rose-pink flowers at the tips in spring and summer.

Habitat edit

It prefers rocky slopes and lime. It is native to Central and Southern Europe,[3][4] and also to Morocco and Algeria.[5]

It is popularly grown in rockeries or alpine gardens; and occasionally becomes naturalised outside its native range, especially on old stone walls, shown from a well-known location for this species on the old Carrbridge Packhorse Bridge in the Highlands of Scotland [6]

It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7][8]

In folk belief of Northumberland edit

Botanist and noted authority on plant-lore Albert Roy Vickery quotes an informant from the town of Hexham thus:

Fairy foxglove is a small, purple flower which grows intermittently on stone walls in north-east England. Local tradition says that it only grows where Roman soldiers have trod. And certainly it is to be found in the village of Wall (which is, of course, located near Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland).[9]

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ Annie's Annuals Retrieved October 8, 2015
  2. ^ Plants: USDA.Gov October 8, 2015
  3. ^ "Erinus alpinus". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved Apr 26, 2012.
  4. ^ "Encyclopaedia of life entry for Erinus alpinus". Retrieved Apr 26, 2012.
  5. ^ Kew Plants of the World Online Retrieved at 10.35 on Monday 1/8/22.
  6. ^ "Ukwildflowers link". Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  7. ^ "Erinus alpinus". Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  8. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 36. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  9. ^ Vickery, Roy, Oxford Dictionary of Plant Lore, pub. Oxford University Press 1995 ISBN 0-19-280053-1 entry 'Fairy Foxglove' page 129.