Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter’. The common name is Flat Sea Holly.
Link to Eryngium planum:
A closer look at the Eryngium planum, attracting a few soldier beetles. I noticed a few postings around the internet suggesting that this plant stinks like cat poop. So I went back to this plant to check it out. Yes, it really does smell like cat poop up close. That is probably what makes it attractive to insects.
Another species of Eryngium in the gardens, planted fairly close to the first one, this is Eryngium zabelii ‘Big Blue’. The common name for Eryngium zabelii is also Sea Holly. One might think Eryngium is some kind of a thistle but they are not related to thistle at all. Rather surprisingly they are part of the Apiaceae, the carrot family.
Also in these gardens you can find our native Eryngium, this is Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium). Eryngium yuccifolium is a distinctive plant of prairie habitats.
All pictures were taken June 7, 2012 at Purdue Horticulture Gardens.