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Purple echium Echium plantagineum

Phonetic Spelling
ek-EE-um plan-tah-JIN-ee-um
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina
Description

Purple Viper's-Bugloss is an annual to biennial native to Europe and the Mediterranean.  It was originally introduced in the U.S.A. and Australia in the 1800's as an ornamental plant, however, has since been declared as quite weedy and invasive in some areas. It can be found growing in pastures, along with farm crops, along roadsides as well as in other disturbed areas such as gardens, open woodlands, and waste areas.  

It is spread by birds, livestock and the movement of various types of equipment such as farm vehicles and implements.  It can also be spread by human or animal contact as well as by weather elements, like wind or rain.  

This erect annual lives up to its common names which include the words curse and plague.  Considered weedy, this invasive plant is poisonous to grazing animals and called a threat to natural areas.  The simple digestive system of a horse makes it especially hazardous to them.  It contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause chronic liver damage and death in animals that consume it.  Its threat to natural areas is a cause for concern as it produces an abundance of seeds that can quickly take over pastures and ranges, as well as crowding out other, more desirable plants.

Unfortunately it is sometimes found as a contaminant in wildflower and commercial farm seed.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  In addition to being poisonous to grazing animals, humans handling the plant can result in mild to severe skin irritation and hay fever.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#purple flowers#weedy#bushy#naturalizes#self-seeding#hairy leaves#herbaceous annual#hairy stems#compact habit#skin irritation#problem for horses#poisonous to livestock
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#invasive#purple flowers#weedy#bushy#naturalizes#self-seeding#hairy leaves#herbaceous annual#hairy stems#compact habit#skin irritation#problem for horses#poisonous to livestock
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echium
    Species:
    plantagineum
    Family:
    Boraginaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Mediterranean
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gray/Silver
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are a cluster of 4 three-angled, oval nutlets that are gray, brown or black. They are marked with wrinkles and pitting.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers can start out blue, turning purple and then pink. These trumpet shaped flowers each produce four brown or gray nutlet seeds which are surrounded by a husk covered in bristles. That gives them a fuzzy look. Flowers typically form on one side of the stem and have no stalks. Of the 5 stamens, 2 are significantly longer than the other 3.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Plants form in a basal rosette of stalked leaves. These leaves have no stems. Each plant has two rounded seed leaves that can be found on short stalks. The first true leaves are also rounded and have a central vein.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Plants can be both single stemmed or multi-stemmed. They are covered with stiff hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Slope/Bank
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Invasive Species
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Skin irritation and fever.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Stems