Helminthotheca echioides (Cultivated- USA)

Images by Gurcharan Singh, Inserted by Gurcharan Singh


Picris echioides, bristly ox-tongue, is a stiff annual or biennial herb native to Europe and North Africa. It was traditionally used as an antihelminthic treatment .[4]
P. echioides may grow up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, with a thick, furrowed stem and spreading branches. The leaves are 10–20 cm (4–8 in) long, oblanceolate with a short petiole. The leaves, branches and stem are all covered in thick bristles. The inflorescences are 2–3.5 cm (0.8–1.4 in) wide and subtended by between 3 and 5 large ovate-cordate involucral bracts .[5] These large bracts are the defining feature of the genus Helminthotheca, to which P. echioides may be assigned .[6]
A number of infraspecific taxa are recognised, varying in their leaf shape .[7]
Picris echioides is native to the Mediterranean Basin, but has become widely naturalised outside that range. 
(From Wikipedia on 19.7.13)

Picris echioides is a ANNUAL/BIENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, apomictic. The plant is self-fertile.
Roadsides, hedgebanks, field margins and waste places, usually on stiff and calcareous soils[17]. 
Young leaves - raw or cooked[2, 4, 105, 173]. Not wonderful raw, the leaves are slightly better cooked[173]. A rather bitter flavour[K].  
(From PFAF  )

Picris echioides a very distinctive species with broadbased hairs on leaves and enlarged involucre, Photographed from California.