Echium vulgare — known as viper's bugloss and blueweed — is a species of flowering plant in the borage family Boraginaceae. It is native to most of Europe and western and central Asia, and it occurs as an introduced species in north-eastern North America. The plant root was used in ancient times as a treatment for snake or viper bites. If eaten, the plant is toxic to horses and cattle through the accumulation of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the liver.
It is a biennial or monocarpic perennial plant growing to 30–80 cm (12–31 in) tall, with rough, hairy, oblanceolate 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 in the Northern Hemisphere.
It is native to Europe and temperate Asia. It has been introduced to Chile, New Zealand, and North America where it is naturalised in parts of the continent including northern Michigan, being listed as an invasive species in Washington. It is found in dry, calcareous grassland and heaths, bare and waste places, along railways and roadsides, and on coastal cliffs, sand dunes, and shingle.
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