Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Common Viper's-bugloss Echium vulgare


enlarge +

Common Viper's-bugloss
credit: Pethan/CCSA

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Blueweed

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description Bright blue flower on stiff, coarsely hairy, grey-green herbage.
Habit: introduced annual, biennial, or perennial herb; rough, erect, branching stems rise from basal rosette; taproot.
Height: 12-36 in (30-90 cm)
Leaf: in basal rosette: lanceolate, short-stalked, unveined, speckled, roughly hairy, 2-6 in (5-15 cm) long, to 1.25 in (3 cm) wide; on stem, stalkless, becoming smaller, more linear.
Flower: abundant, pink becoming blue to purple, wide funnel, 5-parted, 0.3-0.75 in (8-19 mm) high; 4 protruding red stamens; held in branched terminal spike.
Fruit: nutlet, somewhat rough.

Warning The hairs on this plant can cause skin irritation on contact.

Flower May to September.

Habitat Dry soils: fields, pastures, roadsides, waste places, disturbed sites.

Range Native to Southern Europe; introduced from Europe in colonial times as a garden plant; escaped from cultivation and naturalized throughout North America, except northern Canada, the far southwest (California, Nevada, Arizona) and parts of the Gulf Coast (Mississippi, Alabama, Florida); not reported in North Dakota.

Discussion Also known as blueweed, blue thistle, blue devil, viper's bugloss, snake flower. Considered weedy or invasive in some locations; listed as a noxious weed in Washington. Echium is grown as an oilseed crop because of the fatty acid composition of the seed oil.