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Viper's Bugloss Echium

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Viper's Bugloss:

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

Echium is a genus of about 70 plants that are native to Europe, N. Africa and Central Asia and are in the Boraginaceae (or Forget-me-not) family. These plants have naturalized in areas as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America and the United States. In some counties, they have become invasive. 

Echiums can be perennial, evergreen or semievergreen. They can be shrubs to short-lived perennials that die after flowering. Most types have deep tap roots to survive drought, narrow thick hairy leaves and tall showy spikes of blue, purple, pink, red or white tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees.

These plants prefer well-drained soils in full sun. They are drought and deer tolerant and most survive on neglect. If you live in a cold winter climate, some types can be grown in a pot and brought indoors for winter.

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

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
E. vulgare
Tags:
#purple#poisonous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#blue flowers#Mediterranean#tall#exotic looking#pollinator plant#bee friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
E. vulgare
Tags:
#purple#poisonous#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#white flowers#purple flowers#pink flowers#weedy#blue flowers#Mediterranean#tall#exotic looking#pollinator plant#bee friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Echium
    Family:
    Boraginaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The oil from the plants is used in cosmetics and herbal medicine.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Macaronesia, Europe to Central Asia, N. Africa
    Distribution:
    Naturalized in US
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant to some Lepidoptera species including Coleophora onosmella and orange swift.
    Edibility:
    Some species are used as food by preparing tender shoots and stems.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    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:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Very Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Schizocarps dividing into mostly 4 nutlets
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Many 5 petaled tubular flowers are produced on tall spikes. They can be blue, pink, red, white or purple and vary in size. Bloom time can be spring or summer depending on the species.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Coarsely hairy, alternate, simple bristly, lance-shaped to elliptical leaves that vary in size. Some produce a rosette of leaves the first year and then a stem the second or third year.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Green stems that may have purple spotting and many hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    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.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems