Viper's-bugloss

©Lizzie Wilberforce

Viper's-bugloss

©Katrina Martin/2020VISION

Viper's-bugloss

+ -
Scientific name: Echium vulgare
The upright, blue flower spikes of Viper's-bugloss can be spotted on chalk grassland, sand dunes, cliffs and banks. Its spotted stem is thought to resemble a viper.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 80cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to September

About

Viper's-bugloss is a hairy plant with dense spikes of bright blue, funnel-shaped flowers. It is found on chalk grassland, sand dunes, cliffs and disturbed ground, and is in bloom from May to September. It provides food for a range of insects, including Buff-tailed and Red-tailed Bumblebees, Large Skipper and Painted Lady butterflies, Honeybees and Red Mason Bees.

What to look for

Viper's-bugloss has upright spikes of vivd blue flowers in dense clusters; hairy, spotted stems; and narrow, pointed leaves.

Where to find

Scattered distribution in the UK, most common in the south.

Did you know?

Viper's-bugloss may have got its common name, 'Viper', from its spotted stem, which is said to resemble a snake's markings, or from the shape of its flowers, which look like the head of a snake. 'Bugloss' comes from the Greek meaning 'ox's tongue' and refers to the rough, tongue-shaped leaves.