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

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