You’ll see these towering purple spikes looming from road cuts and clifftops. This is pride of Madeira, or Echium candicans. It’s a common sight – especially in more coastal areas. It grows to more than seven feet tall, and is very striking with its gray-green leaves and massive heads of flowers (easily over a foot long).
Sadly, this plant isn’t native to the US. It’s another escaped ornamental species that’s still commonly used in landscaping. Birds and butterflies love it, and deer don’t. In inland areas this isn’t a problem but in the coastal climate it spreads on its own, gradually creeping into wild areas. Because it spreads slowly it is only considered to be moderately invasive, but it’s still not recommended for local gardens.