Echium vulgare

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See also Viper's Bugloss (moth) for the insect.
Viper's Bugloss
Echium vulgare (flowers).jpg
Viper's Bugloss in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Boraginales
Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Echium
Species: E. vulgare
Binomial name
Echium vulgare

Echium vulgare (Viper's Bugloss or Blueweed)[1] is a species of Echium native to most of Europe, and western and central Asia.[2][3] It is also common in North America.[1]

It is a biennial or monocarpic perennial plant growing to 30–80 cm (12–31 in) tall, with rough, hairy, lanceolate leaves. The flowers start pink and turn vivid blue and are 15–20 mm (0.59–0.79 in) in a branched spike, with all the stamens protruding. The pollen is blue[4] but the filaments of the stamens remain red, contrasting against the blue flowers. It flowers between May and September. It is found in dry, bare and waste places.[5]

It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in parts of the continent, being listed as an invasive species in Washington.[3]

Echium is grown as an oilseed crop because of the fatty acid composition of the seed oil. Like borage and evening primrose oil, it contains significant amounts of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), but it also contains the rarer stearidonic acid (SdA).[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dickinson, T.; Metsger, D.; Bull, J.; & Dickinson, R. (2004) ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario. Toronto:Royal Ontario Museum, p. 203.
  2. ^ Flora Europaea: Echium vulgare
  3. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Echium vulgare
  4. ^ Dorothy Hodges (1952). The pollen loads of the honeybee. Bee Research Association Ltd., London. 
  5. ^ Fitter, R. & A. (1974). The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins.
  6. ^ National Non-Food Crops Centre. "Echium", Retrieved on 2009-03-26