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Report an Invasive Species

Common bugloss

Common bugloss

Common bugloss

(Anchusa officinalis)

Priority: -  Prevent

Tags: Agricultural | Medicinal

Identification and Reproduction

Identification:

  • Common bugloss is a deep-rooted perennial that grows up to 0.6 m tall. 
  • In its first year it forms a rosette of basal leaves, narrow and pointed. In the second year it will begin to grow upright and flower.  

  • Stems are angular, hairy and will be multi-stemmed with maturity. 

  • Leaves are alternate, succulent and hairy. When found on the lower stem they are lance-like, decreasing in size moving up the stem. 
  • It is most obvious for its blue to purple flowers with white centres.
  • Flowers are found at the end of stalks and will uncoil like a fiddleneck and will straighten out as the bud opens. Depending on site conditions flowers can uncoil anytime between May through July. 

Reproduction: 

  • This plant has a long taproot and can reshoot from any root fragments. 
  • Each flower will produce 4 small nutlet-like seeds, resulting in nearly 900 seeds per plant annually. 

Habitat & Ecology

  • It invades, grasslands roadsides, pastures and warm exposed areas. 
  • It is shade intolerant, but adapted to various soil types ranging from sandy to clay-heavy soils. 
  • This invader prefers dry, fertile and well-draining soils. 
  • Currently common bugloss has been reported in south-central BC (Rutland and Osoyoos) and Vancouver Island. 

Impacts

Social: 

  • This plant invades pasture, hay lands, alfalfa fields and rangelands. 
  • Its presence reduces yeild returns and the crop potential. 
  • When the succulent leaves drop they start to mold, spoiling the alfalfa hay. 

Management

Prevention is a high priority for this plant. 

  • Ensure that seeds are not carried on clothing, pets, equipment or vehicles off infested site. 
  • Regularly monitor croplands for common bugloss.
  • If plant is observed ensure that new infestations are removed and disposed of properly. 

Mechanical/Manual Control: 

  • Eradication can occur through cutting or mowing prior to seed production. 
  • For some infestations it may be beneficial to dig up the taproot. 
  • Since it has a deep taproot it is crucial to remove the entire root mass to prevent re-establishement.

Resources

Download the Okanagan Invasive Species Online resource on Common Bugloss here

E-flora BC is a good resource to help identify common bugloss. 

Header photo (Thomas Dürbye)