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Echium vulgare

Phonetic Spelling
EK-ee-um vul-GAIR-ee
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Blueweed is a weedy biennial plant native to Europe and Asia in the borage family. The plant has naturalized in parts of the USA,  South America and New Zealand. It is found growing in dry pastures, roadsides, waste areas and coastal cliffs, sand dunes and the shingle. It is considered invasive in the state of Washington. It will grow up to 3 feet tall and have spikes of vivid blue flowers in May to September. This plant is poisonous to livestock and humans. The name vulgare means common in Latin.

Gardeners tend to either consider this a beautiful wildflower or a weed. If you desire to grow this plant, it is tolerant of poor soils in full sun and is drought and deer-resistant. Do not over-fertilize or plant in rich soils as this will decrease flowering. Be sure to deadhead spent blooms to prevent aggressive reseeding. Please see native alternatives listed to the left.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems

More information on Echium.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#biennial#weedy#blue flowers#European#pollinator plant#wildflower garden#bee friendly#problem for horses#meadows
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#biennial#weedy#blue flowers#European#pollinator plant#wildflower garden#bee friendly#problem for horses#meadows
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echium
    Species:
    vulgare
    Family:
    Boraginaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    In ancient times the root was used to treat snake bites
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe to North West Asia
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Description:
    Grey-brown fruit is a cluster of 4 nutlets covered in small bumps
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Numerous pink buds in a tight coil in a one-sided cluster on lateral branches. The 1/2 to 3/4 inch flowers turn vivid blue when open with long protruding stamens that have red filaments. They are tubular in shape, 5-parted and open from the base to the tip.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Coarsely hairy, simple, alternate, oblong to lanceolate leaves. 2-6 in. long and 1.5 inches wide. Upper leaves are smaller and stalkless. All leaves are green with white speckles and spines along the midrib. As a biennial, it forms a rosette the first year and sends up a flower stalk the 2nd year. As an annual, it will flower the first year.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Bristly, hairy stems are green spotted with purple
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. CAUSES SEVERE PAIN IN THE MOUTH IF EATEN! Digestive upset and liver damage as well as skin irritation from the coarse hairs. It is toxic to livestock due to a buildup of toxins in the liver.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems