Weed Watch – Viper’s Bugloss

Viper's Bugloss

Viper’s Bugloss

While not a legally declared pest plant, Viper’s bugloss or blueweed (Echium vulgare) is an invasive weed in Australia and New Zealand.

This densely bristled annual or biennial herb has a long tap root and grows to around 50-90cm high. It’s pretty blue-pink flowers belie the fact that it is unpalatable to livestock and that its bristles can cause skin irritation.

In the summer months, it is frequently seen growing around Te Waihora. The photographs shown here, were taken at Kaituna Lagoon, where it has successfully displaced many other plants.

 

 

Common on roadsides, riverbanks and pastures.

Common on roadsides, riverbanks and pastures.

Echium vulgare is a species of Echium native to most of Europe, and western and central Asia. The flowers start pink and turn vivid blue and are 15–20 mm in a branched spike, with all the stamens protruding.

Stamens remain red and stand out against the blue flowers, producing a good honey flow when most other nectar sources have dried up.

This is a weed of roadsides, bare and waste places in the North Island, or the general countryside in drier parts of the South Island.