Echium vulgare (viper’s bugloss)

Viper’s bugloss leaves

Viper’s bugloss or blueweed (Echium vulgare) is related to borage (Borago) and the forget-me-nots (Myosotis), it belongs to the Boraginaceae family. Depending on the location, it grows to a height of between 50 and 100 centimetres. Its flowers are pink when closed, turning purple when they open and blue when they fade. The flowering period can last from June to October.

flowers of vipers bugloss
The flowers of viper’s bugloss are pink as buds and change colour when they open and fade.

Echium vulgare usually grows as a biennial but sometimes also as a perennial. It spreads by seed, of which it produces many. Thanks to its long taproot, it can survive well in dry locations.

Echium vulgare white flowers
There are also white-flowered specimens of Echium vulgare.

Distribution area & biotopes

Viper’s bugloss is native to most European countries. In Asia, its natural range extends as far as China. In Australia, North America, South Africa and other regions it can be found as a naturalised species (source).

Viper's bugloss in a meadow
Viper’s bugloss in a meadow.

Echium vulgare grows on embankments, dams, along roadsides, in meadows and sometimes on walls, steps and between paving stones.

Viper's bugloss can grow on walls
Viper’s bugloss can grow on walls.


Pollinating insects include bumblebees and other wild bees as well as honeybees.

A bumblebee pollinates the flowers of viper's bugloss
A bumblebee pollinates the flowers of viper’s bugloss.

Echium vulgare

Echium vulgare at a railway crossing
Echium vulgare at a railway crossing.
Viper's bugloss in a parking lot
Viper’s bugloss in a parking lot.

vipers bugloss Echium vulgare