Echium plantagineum, commonly known as purple viper's-bugloss or Paterson's curse, is a species of Echium native to western and southern Europe (from southern England south to Iberia and east to the Crimea), northern Africa, and southwestern Asia (east to Georgia). It has also been introduced to Australia, South Africa and United States, where it is an invasive weed.
Due to a high concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, it is poisonous to grazing livestock, especially those with simple digestive systems, like horses. The toxins are cumulative in the liver, and death results from too much Paterson's curse in the diet.
Echium plantagineum is a winter annual plant growing to 20–60 cm tall, with rough, hairy, lanceolate leaves up to 14 cm long.
The flowers are purple, 15–20 mm long, with all the stamens protruding, and borne on a branched spike.
Fast growing into an impressive mound 50x50 cm (in rich soil) of blue - purple, cup-shaped blooms with pink buds, it blooms for months - from April to November! A good bee plant.
Easy, resilient and not fussy about soil, it’s useful in those mysterious spots where everything else dies! Readily self-sows.
Succeeds in any good garden soil but flowers best when the soil is not too rich.
Requires a sunny position. The plant is very deep rooted. A good bee plant.
Information sources: wikipedia.org, anniesannuals.com.
Genus - Echium
Species - Plantagineum
Common name - Patersons curse
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 3 - 11
Height - 0.40 - 0.60 m
Spread - 0.20 m
Plant type - Annual
Exposure - Full Sun
Growth rate - Fast
Soil PH - Acid, neutral, alkaline
Soil type - Clay Soil, Sandy Soil, Loamy Soil
Water requirements - Average, drought tolerant
Landscape uses - Flower gardens, rock gadens. A good bee plant.
Bloom season - May - November
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Purple, violet, white
Sow from February to May or August to November in site.
Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks when temparature ~+15C.
Could be sown in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
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