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Dieren en planten

Fritillaries   Plants   Umbellifer family   Sea holly   Alexanders   Dune flora   Butterflies   

Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Sea holly


30 to 60 centimeters




June through August



life span:

biennial to perennial


along the coasts of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean

  • Dut: Blauwe Zeedistel
  • Lat: Eryngium maritimum
  • Eng: Sea Holly
  • Fren: Panicaut des dunes
  • Ger: Stranddistel
  • Dan: Strand-mandstro
Sea holly, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Sea holly

It hasn't been easy to survive as a sea holly plant in the Netherlands. Being so decorative, it was first threatened by (hobby) flower arrangers that picked too many flowers. No flowers, no seeds, no new plants. Furthermore, its habitat is now being threatened by dune fixation. It has become a rare plant and is now legally protected. The blue-green color of the leaf comes from a waxy layer which protects the plant from dehydration. Sea holly attracts butterflies, particularly the peacock butterfly and the Queen of Spain fritillary.

  • Habitat
    Sea holly in De Koog, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Sea holly needs open space, lots of nutrients and not too much direct contact with the elements of nature. The best place for it to grow is in the shelter of marram grass on the leeside of the beach ridge, where a flood mark lies buried in the ground. With its long taproot, it finds the necessary nutrients hidden in the flood mark. Along a beach ridge, marram grass doesn't generally grow that densely, giving sea holly a chance to germinate in the open spaces.