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Echium vulgare

Echium vulgare L.

 

Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyBoraginaceaeBorages or forget-me-nots
GenusEchiumFrom the Greek echis, “a viper,” the nutlets appearing to represent a viper’s head
SpeciesvulgareLatin for “common”

About plant names...

Viper’s bugloss is native to Europe and western and central Asia. It was introduced to North America, where it has become naturalized, and is considered an invasive species in Washington. With a name like that, I had to try to find out where it comes from. “Viper” refers to a supposed resemblance between the seeds and a viper’s head. “Bugloss” derives from Greek words meaning rough, a reference to the hairy, warty stems.

Identification: Plants are 12-31" (30-80 cm) tall. Initially, the flowers are pink, becoming blue as they mature. Leaves are long, up to 6" (15 cm), and narrow, 1" (3 cm). Flowers are occur in flowering spikes, with individual flowers ½-¾" (1.5-2 cm) in length. Each flower has five long red or red-violet stamens. Stems have soft hairs, with hairs emerging from raised purple spots on the green stem.

Online References:

Echium vulgare on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Echium vulgare on Wikipedia

Echium vulgare on chestofbooks.com

Echium vulgare on Missouriplants.com

Echium vulgare on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Echium vulgare on Wikimedia Commons

Echium vulgare on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Echium vulgare at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Echium vulgare at Botanical.com

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

6/30/2013 · Rte. 119/225, Littleton, MA
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 13 cm)

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

7/31/2016 · Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

6/30/2013 · Rte. 119/225, Littleton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (28 × 18 cm)

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

6/30/2013 · Rte. 119/225, Littleton, MA
≈ 7 × 6" (17 × 16 cm)

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

6/30/2013 · Rte. 119/225, Littleton, MA
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 12 cm)

Echium vulgare description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

11/27/2009 · East End Walk, Portland, ME · By Constance B. Kent

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

7/31/2016 · Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

7/3/2013 · Rte. 119/225, Littleton, MA
≈ 7 × 10" (16 × 25 cm)

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

7/31/2016 · Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

7/31/2016 · Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

6/30/2013 · Rte. 119/225, Littleton, MA
≈ 4½ × 7" (12 × 18 cm)

Echium vulgare (Viper’s Bugloss, Common Viper’s Bugloss)

7/31/2016 · Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Range: Zones 3-11:

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