Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Viper's-bugloss - Echium vulgare   L.
Members of Boraginaceae:
Only member of Echium in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Boraginaceae
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DistributionMountains and Piedmont; rare in the Sandhills. First collected in 1885 (eastern NC) and 1886 (near Raleigh). Post-1990 specimens are few, but that may be due to "collection apathy"; why collect an exotic species if previously collected in that county?

Native of Mediterranean Europe; in N.A. somewhat throughout, but scarce on the Coastal Plains.
AbundanceFairly common to locally common in the northern and central Mountains; mostly infrequent elsewhere in the Mountains and in the Piedmont.
HabitatRoadsides, railroads, fields, cropfields, barnyards, meadows, river shores and creek sides.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-September.
IdentificationViper's Bugloss is a familiar and attractive weed in much of the mountains, but less so downstate. It is readily identified by its coarsely hairy (hispid) stem (growing erect to about 2-3 feet tall) and foliage and short to elongate cymes in leaf axils. Over time the cymes produce 1-many flowers, thus elongating and curving somewhat. The flowers are rather large, bright blue with red stamens. In case you didn't know already, the common name is not pronounced like "BUG-loss"; it is pronounced like "BYOO-gloss".
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Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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