Echium

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Echium

 

(viper’s bugloss), a genus of plants of the family Boraginaceae. The plants are annual, biennial, or perennial stiff-haired herbs or, rarely, shrubs. The leaves are alternate and entire. The irregular flowers are dark blue, purple, yellow, or white; they are gathered in bostryces, which form a panicled inflorescence. The calyx is dissected almost to its base, and the corolla is funnel-shaped and oblique. The fruit consists of four nutlets.

There are more than 40 species, distributed in Europe, West Asia, and northern and southern Africa. Five species are found in the USSR. The blue-weed (E. vulgare), a biennial with dark blue flowers, grows in wastelands and deserts, on slopes, along roads, in fields and in overgrown places. Echium is a valuable nectariferous plant and source of beebread. The blue-weed is often cultivated. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Echium rossicum (formerly E. rubrum) is found in the steppe zone of the European USSR, in the Caucasus, and in Middle Asia. Its roots contain a dye.

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Echium vulgare, the viper's bugloss, can be sown as a hardy annual or grown as a bedding plant and is amongst the best summer flowers for supporting the local bee population, given a warm spot and a sunny summer.
Gower is an all round resource for plant and ower lovers, in the spring oering bluebells, ramsons, cowslip and common dog-violet, in the summer, thrift, lady's bedstraw, sea bindweed and viper's bugloss and autumn and winter providing ivy, gorse, mosses, lichens and fungi including olive earth-tongue, mushrooms and puballs.
Second in adult section was Tim Mason from Amble with his image of dunlins reflected in water and third was Richard Poyer, also from Amble, who pictured burnet moths feeding on viper's bugloss flowers on a trip to Lindisfarne.
We're in a dune, see, with rabbits, and a biennial called Viper's Bugloss.
Dr Gammans said: "New Zealand is about to begin a programme to control Viper's bugloss because it's a non-native plant, but the short-haired bumblebees depend on it, so this is a now-or-never chance to rescue some of these bumblebees.