Latin Name: Echium vulgare
Physical Description: It is a biennial or short lived perennial from a deep taproot that can extend more than half a meter into the ground. The stems are covered in short, stiff hairs that have conspicuous dark flecks at the base of the hairs. The leaves are lance shaped, alternate up the stem, and become smaller and stalkless towards the top of the stem. All leaves are covered in stiff hairs, with dark flecks often visible on the underside. The flowers are blue to pink and the petals are fused at the base with 5 unequal lobes.
Habitat: It can survive in a variety of soil types and pH, but does not tolerate shade and requires well drained soils. It is often found on southern aspects, in areas such as roadsides, ditches, pastures, rangelands, and along fence lines.
Impacts: It often invades pastures and rangelands, limiting production of desirable forage species for livestock and wildlife. It also contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be toxic to livestock if ingested.
Reproduction: It reproduce exclusively by seed, releasing 2800 seeds per plant. Seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 5 years or more.
Mechanical: Small infestations can be hand pulled prior to flowering, preferably when the soil is moist. The entire root system must be removed or the plant may re-sprout. Cutting the plant just below the ground surface can also be effective if the ground is too hard for the plants to be puled in their entirety. Repeated mowing can deplete root reserves and prevent seed production. It is recommend that gloves are worn when handling this plant to prevent skin irritation.
Chemical: Several herbicides with the following active ingredients can control Blueweed: 2,-4-D, Metsulfuron, Glyphosate and Chlorsulfuron. For available products, contact your local agri-supply store. Prior to any herbicide application, read and follow the label instructions.
Biological: Not available
Invasives Species Council Of BC Blueweed Factsheet