top of page

Common bugloss

(Anchusa officinalis)

Deep tap-rooted perennial in the Borage family with hairy, angular stems growing 0.8 metres tall. Introduced from Europe.

Quick Identification:

• Deep purple to blue flowers with white centers.
• Flowers originate at the ends of the stalks with each flower stem coiled like a fiddle neck at first.
• Has fleshy, hairy leaves that grow smaller in size towards the top of the stem.

Interesting Facts:

Though not poisonous to livestock or wildlife, it has been shown to reduce carrying capacity in pasture lands.


Flower stems, initially coiled like fiddleheads,
straighten out as each bud opens.  Deep purple to blue flowers with white centres produce four nut-like seeds each. Flower colour can vary from purple to pink to white.


Hand pulling or digging is effective if entire root is
removed. Best done when soil is moist. Wear gloves, avoid skin contact.  If any portion of flower is beginning to emerge, or if seed heads are formed, pick, bag, and remove. Selective herbicides are effective.

Leaves and Stems:

Common bugloss has fleshy, hairy leaves that grow smaller in size towards the top of the stem. Young plants resemble blueweed and are dark green in colour.


Reproduction and dispersal:

Each flower produces four nut-like seeds each. One plant produces an average of 900 seeds.

Spread when seeds are eaten by animals and when seedbearing stalks are tumbled in the wind.
Vehicles, animal and human feet, redistribution
of soils and gravels, and contaminated hay also
spread the seed.


Long taproot. New shoots develop from root stock fragments.


Habitat Preference:

Favours dry, fertile, well-drained soils. It is found on grasslands, roadsides, dry fields, pastures, and disturbed areas in British Columbia.

It will invade pasture, road edges, and range areas forming dense monocultures excluding the native vegetation.

  • Facebook Social Icon
bottom of page