VIPER’S BUGLOSS (Echium vulgare)


Europe, Asia


A tall plant with flowers of a deep, vivid BLUE, Viper’s Bugloss likes dry, gritty soil and does well in gravel gardens. We had one, planted here in a large terracotta pot with a Teasel and a Wild Clary. The Teasel crowded out the other two and Viper’s Bugloss was planted in the ground; it proved a Bees’ Favourite. We hope to grow it here again and provide it with more gravel.


Viper's Bugloss June 2009


As for how it got its name, a website called, which looks at honey worldwide, has photos of Viper’s Bugloss seeds that show the perceived resemblance between the seed and a viper’s head. Echium is a Latin word taken from the Greek ‘echis’ for viper; ‘bugloss’ is Greek for ox tongue, referring to the roughness and shape of the plant’s leaves.


Other names:  Blue Bottle, Blue Cat’s Tail, Blue Devil, Blue Thistle, Ironweed, Our Saviour’s Flannel.