- See also Viper's Bugloss (moth) for the insect.
Echium vulgare (Viper's Bugloss or Blueweed) is a species of Echium native to most of Europe, and western and central Asia. It is also common in North America.
Illustration of Echium vulgare
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  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.
It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in parts of the continent, being listed as an invasive species in Washington.
Viper's Bugloss colonizing the banks of a city highway
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).
See also 
- ^ a b Dickinson, T.; Metsger, D.; Bull, J.; & Dickinson, R. (2004) ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario. Toronto:Royal Ontario Museum, p. 203.
- ^ Flora Europaea: Echium vulgare
- ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network: Echium vulgare
- ^ Dorothy Hodges (1952). The pollen loads of the honeybee. Bee Research Association Ltd., London.
- ^ Fitter, R. & A. (1974). The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins.
- ^ National Non-Food Crops Centre. "Echium", Retrieved on 2009-03-26