Red viper's grass
From Poland to central European Russia this lovely red-flowered Echium is suffering in the wild from habitat loss.
It's a biennial or short lived perennial that grows in rocky, shallow soils in dry grassland.
From mid-summer, striking upright spires bearing crimson flowers emerge from a basal rosette of hairy leaves.
These hairs may be an irritant to very sensitive skin but have the ability to deter grazing animals.
Despite its short life span it performs well in dry or gravel gardens, the splendid display of red spires and unusual colouring lending a very exotic touch to the planting palette.
Hardy only in very well drained soil. It resents too much water.
Photo: © Blackstem Plants
Biennial / short lived perennial