"Giant"is no exaggeration as this stunning and spectacular plant from the Mediterranean has been known to reach 15 feet in height in flower. For a plant of this size,however, the dark green leaves, divided many times into feathery segments, are surprisingly delicate in appearance. The enormous flower-heads, 45cm or more across, contain countless hundreds (thousands) of tiny, bright yellow flowers.Good for wild garden, border, shrubbery or on the margins of pools or streams.
Ferula communis (the giant fennel) is a species in the genus Ferula of the Apiaceae. Despite the name, the plant is not a type of fennel proper, which belongs toanother genus (Foeniculum). According to MarjorieBlamey and Christopher Grey-Wilson's Mediterranean Wild Flowers:
'The stems becomes hard and woody on drying .....the pith, when dry, burns slowly inside the stem and can be carried alight - it may well have been the original Olympic torch'. Other sources claim that the stems were used by Prometheus when he stole fire from the gods on Mount Olympus and gave it to humans.
It's also a very good 'bee-plant' attracting a constant procession of bumblebee visitors to these umbels, each of which is as big as a fist.