August 11, 2012

Pride of Madeira

Pride of Madeira, Echium fastuosum is native to the Canary Islands (a string of islands off the coast of North Africa that is part of Spain) and Madeira, an island off the coast of Portugal.

I went to the Canary Islands when I was 21 years old and living in Madrid, Spain. We had a long holiday break from the University in December, and a friend invited me to his house on the small volcanic island of La Palma. What a magical place!

At sea level, the beaches were the softest, finest black sand. That’s where we celebrated New Year’s Eve, on the beach, dancing and looking up at the stars. Street lights are not permitted on any of the five Canary Islands, because one of the worlds best astronomy observatories is there.

And the stars! You wouldn’t believe the stars! Every 1-2 seconds a shooting star would zoom across the sky. At night I would just stare up at the bright, black sky in disbelief to see such a continuous and magnificent shower of shooting stars.

pride of madeira

During the day the black sand on the beach was warm under bare feet. Walking up ten minutes from the beach up the small streets, was a tropical plant paradise with wild flowers and huge succulents. This is where I loved to go jogging and marvel at the exploding aloes and crazy flora I’d never dreamed of seeing before, like the Pride of Madeira.

One day my friends and I jumped into a car and drove up the mountain. After fifteen minutes, we came to the top of a rainforest. The dense white clouds were at eye level and we watched them slip and slide in and out of the trees. Then drove further up the mountain until we reached a beautiful pine forest where several local families were having picnics in the trees. We stopped and got out of the car to relax and have lunch and enjoy the cooler temperature.

Then we drove to the top of the mountain to where it absolutely felt like we were on the surface of the moon, or a new planet. It was rocky and unlike any geography I’d ever seen before, likely because the island had been formed from a volcano long ago.

Everything about the La Palma is exotic, unique and breathtaking, and It is from here in the Canary Islands, as well as the island of Madeira, where the Pride of Madeira flower originally comes from.

Pride of Madeira2

Ironically, I didn’t collect this flower essence on the island – I collected it north of San Francisco. I discovered it in the bay area one spring and fell totally in love all over again. It grows in tall cones along the roads in massive towers of blue and purple that almost have a human quality. It has that exquisite magical quality that the Canary Islands had – it makes absolute sense that it’s native to such fantasy-like islands.

Pride of Madeira is also known as the Tower of Jewels, which is fitting, as it grows in tall cone- shaped spikes that boast thousands of indigo and magenta flowers that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

close up of pride of madeira

In California, Pride of Madeira is sometimes considered an invasive species, which means that it overgrows and sort of takes over the area. Some of my favorite plants are considered invasive – I’m sure the hardcore native California plant folks wouldn’t be happy about this, but I wouldn’t mind if Pride of Madeira took over. They’re just so interesting-looking, and fun! And they support us in their own magical way.

Pride of Madeira is also perfect for gardeners that don’t have green thumbs. It grows in poor soil and is drought tolerant – it actually doesn’t like too much water. It tolerates wind and salty air from the ocean, making it a good coastal plant.

Pride of Madeira is beautiful to look at and be around, but not to touch or eat. The plant has all kinds of little hairs on it, which are irritating to the skin and the plant is actually poisonous – all parts of the plant are inedible.

echium fastuosum - pride of madeira

The beauty of using flower essences is that you can get the benefits of flowers that are poisonous. The remedies are so dilute, that there is no longer any plant parts or chemistry left in the liquid, only the energetic imprint of the flower. It’s similar to homeopathy: when you take the poisonous Belladona or Arsenic in homeopathic form, it’s healing for the body and soothing for the mind.

The Pride of Madeira is all about feeling beautiful, exotic and exquisite – helping you perceive and embody that you’re in the right place at the right time. All of those things about you that make you different, that in the past may have made you feel awkward or out of place, become what makes you exotic and sexy. And why not envelope yourself in that feeling? Here’s an ultra simple bath that any busy person can manage to fit into their schedule:

{Exotic Magic Bath with Pride of Madeira}

bath ritual

Run a hot bath and put nine drops of elixir in your bathwater. You can add essential oils or bath oils of your choice if you wish to have aromatherapy. Soak for fifteen minutes. Voila!

Experience the magic of Pride of Madeira!

Pride of Madeira Elixir

{Magnifies} feeling exotic and exquisite; helps you feel accepting of yourself, connected to everything around you, and in awe of the profoundly magical world that surrounds you; helps you discover the beauty in being different, allowing it to be sexy, sensuous, mysterious; enhances sense of the profound in the silence; feeling like you’re in the right place, right time, right moment; fullness, being-ness, expansion, letting it all hang out; perceiving one’s different qualities as exotic and exquisite vs. different and unusual, or foreign and sticking out; perceiving your unique qualities as an asset rather than a hindrance.

{Dissolves} feeling ‘different’, unusual, foreign, or not fitting in; sadness or contraction due to feeling left out; teariness, feeling disconnected; pulling back; holding back; feeling small, weepy, different – like you don’t belong; negativity about ones different- ness, uniqueness and unusual qualities.

Love + flower petals,




Maria Kouvaras

Dear Katie,
Thank You from the bottom of my heart!!! your website and beautiful descriptions of Pride of Madeira came just as I discovered it in Carmel by the Sea outside of San Francisco Bay area. I could not resist and took a picture of the exotic tall purple rod like plant as it was the side of the road with background the foamy Pacific ocean. I am so very blessed to have experienced this plant in person.



Hi Maria, isn’t it BEAUTIFUL?! Now is the loveliest blooming season! I’m so happy you experienced its magic! <3


Leave a Comment

Close Quiz

Which flower are you most attracted to?

Which ritual would you love so much you'd enjoy it 5 times each day?

select all that apply

Flower Elixir

Enjoy nectar-like drops sublingually or in your water bottle.

Energy Mist

Mist yourself and let it rain down around your face and shoulders.

Balancing Serum

Luscious oil serum applied to your face and the back of your neck.

Transformative Perfume

Spritz your wrists, heart, hair, neck. Blend together and inhale.


We recommend:

Curious what your second favourite flower means?Take the quiz again