(Echium vulgare)

Echium vulgare flower

Also called: Viper's Bugloss

Roots:  The roots are of this biennial plant go deep into sandy or disturbed soils. They grow in tufts. (1)

Stems/Leaves: The leaves are long and spotted.  They can be anywhere from 2 to 6 inches long.  They can be around 1 ¼ to 1-½ inches wide.  The flowering leaves become smaller as you go up the stem. The leaves have white spots and they have long hairs on them.  The stems stand up to 2 feet to 2 ½ feet tall.  Like the leaves the stems also have the long hairs.  There are multiple different stems arising from the main one. (1)

Flowers: The flowers are really pretty.  The flowers are a brilliant blue to a purplish color.  They are about 7 to 12 mm long.  They also have the hairs.  They are fairly long and resemble funnels.  This plant flowers from May to September. (1)  

Fruits/Seeds: The seeds ripen from August to October. (1) 

Methods of Reproduction/Spread: This plant has both the parts for male and female reproduction within the flower.  Bees pollinate this plant to help it produce seeds.  Seeds are spread by direct contact with the plant be it human or animal, and through the wind. (1)

Life Style/Habits/Life Duration: This plant is a biennial.  Biennial means the plant grows for two years then dies.  It does not respond well to frost.  It grows in the summer. (1) 

Montana Infestation/History:  The history of this plant includes being used for eating purposes such as being used as a substitute for parsley; it can also be used for medical purposes.  It relieves things such as fevers and headaches.  It infests areas with loose soils.  This weed came from Europe, originally. (1) 

Environments Favorable to Infestation:  Soft soils, and areas where the soil has been disturbed.  The soil needs to be well-drained and preferably acid, neutral or basic. (1)

Impacts:  This plant impacts the plants in yards and some other plants abilities to grow by choking them out.   Also, it draws wildlife to it and that could be potentially bad for the area.  This is bad because the wildlife would start to eat the other plants.  The wildlife would destroy your lawn by killing the grass. (1) 

Native Range/ Probable Entry into N. America
:  The native range is in Europe.  The reason why it was probably introduced was its medicinal uses and perhaps its pretty flower. (1) 

Methods of control "how-to":  There really aren’t any ways to control it.  Some things that you can do are watch fill dirt or hay or anything like that for seeds to prevent it.  Make sure that the place that you get the dirt or hay is a reputable place and that there isn’t any of the weeds around the area.  Also, be able to identify the plant so that you know what to look for. (1)
Some chemical things to do is to use herbicides and spray in the spring where they aren’t really growing quite yet. (1) 

Some cultural things that you could do are to have other vegetation that could fight against this weed.  You could also keep your lawns healthy by keeping them watered.  Reduce open areas is the biggest thing that you could do. (1)

Biological: There have been no biological control agents found yet. (1)

How to Prevent Spread:
Keep your lawns and land healthy by keeping them watered and/or not overgrazed.  Reduce open areas is the biggest thing that you could do to help control this plant.  Some other ways that you can though is watch fill dirt or hay or anything like that for seeds to prevent its introduction.  Also, be able to identify the plant so that you know what to look for.  (1)

Connecticut Botanical Society 

Literature Cited

1. Grieve, M.,, A Modern Herbal, Bugloss, Viper's, Date Accessed: 3/2/06, <>.  


By:  Britney  2-22-06 HOME    Back to New Weed Alerts