Centaurea ragusina L. (1753), dubrovačka zečina
An interesting endangered Croatian endemic, named to honor Ragusa, the former name of the Adriatic city of Dubrovnik. Protected in its homeland, this plant enjoyed horticultural popularity in the past, though it is still often grown in some area (many Andalusian courtyards in Spain feature this as potted plants).
When I was young (about 40 years ago!!), my first job was working in a retail nursery in California. I can clearly recall that we supplied this plant, then mererly labeled Dusty Miller (other common names include Dubrovačka zečina [Croatian], Dubrovnik Cornflower, fiordaliso di Ragusa [Italian]). Before I left that employ a short time later, the Dusty Miller of choice became Jacobaea maritima. Gradually, Centaurea ragusina, faded from memory and became harder and harder to find. I grew some for years, but with college and other movements around the state, I no longer had them.
Decades later, when i tried to find this plant again, there were no sources at all on the Pacific Coast. The plants above came from a friend in the South of France who runs a large nursery. I recently saw a specimen planted in the display beds of Annie's Annuals, though I have not yet asked Annie if they are planning to propagate this plant.
I love the felty, white leaves, their interesting lobes, and the fat yellow, 'thistles' that come later in the year. A great plant that should not be forgotten - certainly well adapted to mediterranean climates. It is perhaps best grown in pots which closely approximates the vertical cliff-faces of its native haunts.