Echinops sphaerocephalus

Family: Asteraceae

Common name: GLOBE THISTLE

Native to: Caucasus, Central Europe, Siberia, Southern Europe


Types: annual, biennial, perennial

Form: erect

Max height: 6.6 feet

Max width: 3.3 feet


white/off white




Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bee, specific butterfly species

Exposure: part shade, sun

Propagates by: seed

flowers in summer

Soil types: well drained, wide range

USDA Zones: zone 3 -40 f, zone 4 -30 f, zone 5 to -20 f, zone 6 to -10 f, zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f

Temp. range: -40 to +30 °F

Water: moderate

  • Echinops sphaerocephalus 3
  • Echinops sphaerocephalus
  • Echinops sphaerocephalus 2

Echinops, also called GLOBE THISTLE, is a member of the Compositae (Aster) family. There are 205 species of GLOBE THISTLE. Echinops bannaticus, ritro, and sphaerocephalus are cultivated perennials grown in Zones 3-9; they grow from seed and prefer moderate watering. Echinops sphaerocephalus can grow to 6½ feet tall, the other two average 4 ½ feet tall. Birds will come to the plant to consume both the flower and seed.

Echinops sphaerocephalus grows to 6½ feet tall by 3 1/2 feet wide and produces an off-white spherical flower. It does have prickly leaves. It flowers in summer and may be a bit large to grow in a container unless it is a really large one. It will attract birds, bees, and butterflies.

Compositae attract several adult butterflies. Echinops in particular appeal to these:
Agraulis vanillae, GULF FRITILLARY
Apodemia mormo, Mormon Metalmark
Callophrys nelsoni, Nelson's Hairstreak
Danaus plexippus, Monarch
Junonia coenia, Common Buckeye
Lerodea eufala, Eufala Skipper
Limenitis archippus, Viceroy
Lycaena phlaeas, American Copper
Neominois ridingsii, Ridings' Satyr
Neophasia menapia, Pine White
Phyciodes phaon, Phaon Crescent
Plebejus icarioides, Boisduval's Blue

Apodemia mormo