• Jen Haynes

Blueweed, An Escaped Ornamental

Blueweed (Echium vulgare) also known as viper’s bugloss was introduced in the Boundary as an ornamental. This invasive plant is native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is found along roadways and trails, in gravel pits, yards, empty lots, and other areas with disturbed soil. It out-competes native plants. Native alternatives to blueweed are large-leaved lupine, blue hyssop, and larkspur. These native plants are beautiful and great for pollinators. Blueweed isn’t very palatable to animals. It has toxic alkaloids that can cause liver damage. It has hairs all over the leaves and stems that are irritating. If you are pulling blueweed, it is a good idea to wear gloves and long sleeves. You need to get as much of the long tap root as possible to kill the plant. Using a shovel is recommended but try to disturb the soil as little as possible. Each plant produces about 2,800 seeds. While most of the seeds fall near the plant some get stuck to clothing and animal fur and get spread around. The seeds are viable for a couple of years so any treatment that you do will need to continue until the seed is depleted in the soil. Blueweed is a biennial so if you dig up or spray the rosettes you will stop it from flowering and going to seed the next year. Blueweed has bright blue flowers. The plant grows up to a metre tall. Mowing or cutting blueweed will slow it down but it can re-sprout and go to seed. When doing any invasive plant treatment, it is important to seed the area after treatment to create competition for any seed banked in the soil. Some herbicides are very effective at killing blueweed. The RDKB has a loan out program for spray equipment. It does not provide herbicide, but you can get recommendations on what herbicide to use and how to use the equipment. There is no bio control available for blueweed currently. If you are out enjoying the great outdoors, it’s best to avoid going through a blueweed patch but if its unavoidable make sure you remove any seeds, mud and plant parts from yourself, pets, and vehicle before you continue. For more information please contact the Boundary Invasive Species Society at info@boundaryinvasives.com, 250-446-2232, Facebook and www.boundaryinvasives.com.






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