If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

07 July, 2016

Vipers Bugloss: the blue weed



Although called Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare) this flower has, of course, absolutely nothing to do with snakes! It is covered in bristles which make it feel quite prickly but I suspect the name comes from the flowers which look like the open mouth of a snake with the stamens giving the appearance of a snakes tongue. Well, if you use your imagination it does anyway.
Viper's Bugloss is a plant that is found on dry grasslands, especially on sandy or chalk soils, as well as dunes and cliffs and so Dorset is a county well suited to host good numbers of them  Especially common along the limestone coastal cliffs it can thrive in places other flowers cannot, even on thin soils in disused quarries.
It is a member of the borage family and flowers from June through until September. The flower spikes are a vibrant blue colour which can hardly be missed and which gives rise to its other name, blueweed.
Vipers Bugloss: the blue weed