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Anchusa (common bugloss)

Bugloss (Anchusa officinalis) is a deep rooted perennial in the boraginaceae family reproducing primarily by seed.  It forms a rosette of basal leaves in its first year; a blue-purple flowered stalk in its second year.  Multiple stalks form in subsequent years. 

Its stems are robust hairy, angular and grow 1-2 feet at maturity.  Plants produce several flowering stalks.

Lower leaves are lance-shaped with a stalk attaching it to stems while upper leaves are stalkless with either smoothe or slightly toothed edges.  The slightly pointed leaves are succulent and fleshy and covered with stiff hairs.

Flowers are initially reddish, later turning deep blue to purple with white centres.  They originate at the ends of the stalks with each flower stem coiled like a fiddleneck at first.


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"Fiddleneck" flower stem uncoils as each bud opens


Has a long taproot and new shoots develop from root stock fragments.  Each flower produces 4 small, nutlet-like seeds.  One plant produces an average of 900 seeds.

Common bugloss invades pastures and rangelands and is commonly found on idle areas where competing vegetation is sparse.  This weed is also a concern to alfalfa production because the succulent leaves and stalks mould the hay once it is baled.  In Washington State, bugloss spread to cover approx. 200 square miles in a seven year period.  In the Sea to Sky Corridor bugloss has only been found in Pemberton in small populations.

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