Echium vulgare - Viper’s-bugloss

Viper’s-bugloss (Lus nathrach)

Viper’s-bugloss seems as rather inscrutable common name - in that regard its other name ‘blueweed’ is more straightforward - until we learned that ‘bugloss’ comes from the Greek word for ‘ox-tongue’, which must be a reference to the shape and texture of the leaves: hairy, strap-shaped and with a pronounced vein in the middle, indeed like a tongue. This native but not so common biennial grows quite tall, up to 80cm (2.5ft) thanks to the production of upright stems with red bristles in its second year, carrying beautiful funnel-shaped flowers in a violet blue from May to September. Pollinators adore these.

Site: Tolerates exposure
Soil: Moist but well-drained, prefers acidic
Position: Full sun to part shade
Season of Interest: Biennial, blue blooms, pollinator plant
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height: 5ft (1.5m) Spread: 4-17in (10-40cm)

Type | Size: Pot | 9cm
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