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Viper's Bugloss

 

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 Viper's Bugloss
Echium vulgare

 Other Names:  Bluebottle, Blue Cat's Tail
Distribution:  Native biennial throughout England and Wales.
Habitat:  Grassy areas with light dry soils.  Often seen on cliffs and dunes.  Likes sunny sites.
Description:  Upright (30cm to 1m) biennial with stalks rising from numerous basal leaves.  The flowers (June to August) are pinkish in the bud, but open to a deep blue. Uses:  The plant was used as a cure and preventative for snake bite in earlier times.  The stem of the plant is speckled and the dead flower-head resembles a snake's head. Herbalists used an infusion of the seeds to drive away sadness and melancholia.  It was also said to promote milk flow in nursing mothers and to be effective against lumbago.
Wildlife:  The flowers attract bees and Painted Lady Butterflies.

Sowing Instructions for Seeds: Sow seed in late spring to early summer in a cold frame. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots and plant them out in late summer for flowering the following year (biennial).

Our plants and seeds are of native British origin.