Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

I love plants with blue flowers.  Oh, but you knew that already.  Today\s plant is called Vipers Bugloss.  It is blue, but I really don't know very much about it.  So I am learning as I go.

Vipers Bugloss grows in poor, sandy soil.  Its flowers are a beautiful blue colour and it is sometimes called Blueweed.  The botanical name for it is Echium vulgare.  The name 'Vipers Bugloss' comes from the word 'Echium', which is derived from the Greek word, 'Echis' for viper.   Many parts of this plant were thought to resemble a viper and it was historically used as a treatment for viper bites.  The word bugloss is derived from the Greek word for ox-tongue, which refers to the shape and roughness of the leaves.   This roughness can cause an itchy, allergic reaction if touched.

But if you look at the photo above you will see some poison ivy growing right in the centre.  If I had touched the plant and developed a rash I would have thought it was due to the poison ivy and not the bugloss.  Vipers Bugloss is in the Borage family, Boraginaceae.  It is a biennial or short-lived perennial and can produce 500 to 2,000 seeds per plant.  It is just starting to fade in my area, but it was beautiful earlier in the spring.  I don't know why I didn't take a picture sooner.

It is considered an invasive species in many areas, but in some parts of the world it is grown near bee hives since bees can turn the nectar from these pretty blue flowers into a delicious honey.

So, Happy Wednesday everyone!   Go out and enjoy some wildflowers today.


Wacky Woman said...

Beautiful flower Hetty. We don't get poison ivy in California; just poison oak.

dutchcomfort said...

I learn so much from your wildflower posts!

I discovered that we call it ‘slangenkruid’ (snake herb) and that the roots can be used as a base for red paint! It grows in our dunes. Next time we walk to the beach I’ll pay more attention!