Eryngium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apiaceae. There are about 250 species. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, with the center of diversity in South America. Common names include eryngo and amethyst sea holly (though the genus is not related to the true hollies, Ilex). These are annual and perennial herbs with hairless and usually spiny leaves. The dome-shaped umbels of steely blue or white flowers have whorls of spiny basal bracts. Some species are native to rocky and coastal areas, but the majority are grassland plants. In the language of flowers, they represent admiration.