Common Name: Blueweed
Scientific Name: Echium vulgare
Habitat: disturbed areas, roadsides, grassland
Provincial Designation: Noxious
Noxious weeds are plant species designated in the Alberta Weed Control Act. Noxious weeds must be controlled, meaning their growth or spread needs to be prevented.
Blueweed is native to Eurasia. It was most likely introduced to North America as an ornamental garden plant. The first herbarium specimen in North America was collected in 1828 but the exact year of introduction is unclear.
This species can invade rangeland and pastures. It is unpalatable, so when other plants are grazed on blueweed is able to spread. It is also potentially poisonous.
Typically, the 15-20 mm wide blueweed flowers are blue in colour but start as a reddish-purple bud. Occasionally, plants with white or purple flowers can be found. The petals are united and form a funnel-shaped flower with 5 lobes. Each flower has 5 stamens (male parts), some of which stretch out past the petals and are red.
The leaves are linear to lance-shaped. The leaves closer to the ground have a prominent midvein and can grow up to 15 cm long. The entire plant is covered in stiff hairs. The hairs at the stem have a distinctive black base.
Each plant grows one to several slender flowering stems that reach a height of up to 80 cm.
Learn more about this species:
See Fact Sheet - Alberta Invasive Species Council