Perennial herb to about 60 cm tall. Lower leaves mostly 10-15 cm long, ovate to triangular in outline, spiny-toothed. Upper leaves bluish, roundish in outline and palmately lobed. Bracts to 25 or more, divided and with soft spines. Flower heads to 4 cm long, 2 cm wide. Flowers steel blue or white.
E. ×zabelii Bergmans is a hybrid between E. alpinus and E. bourgatii Gouan. and is available as the cultivars E. 'Blue Hills' and E. 'Violetta', the latter with exceptionally large blue petals.
E. bourgatii Gouan. is a slender plant to about 40 cm tall with flower heads to 2.5 cm wide.
E. variifolium Cosson. from N Africa grows to 45 cm tall and has dark green leaves with distinctive white veins.
Among the larger cultivated species are the greyish white E. giganteum M. Bieb. from the Caucasus, which grows to 1.5 m tall; E. ×tripartitum Desf. from the Mediterranean, which grows over 1 m, with leaf margins deeply 3-lobed; and E. planum L., which grows to 1 m tall, with leaf margins toothed to indented but not lobed.
Source: (2002). Apiaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Leaves tinged with blue and flowers with large, dark petals.
E. 'Blue Star' is also listed.