Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
common bugloss (Anchusa officinalis)
ODA rating: B
Oregon common bugloss distribution
Other common names
Common anchusa, alkanet, bee bread, ox's tongue, starflower, common borage, orchanet, Spanish bugloss, enchusa, lingua bovina, and blue bugloss.
Click on photo below to view larger image

Images courtesy of Dan Sharratt, ODA (retired).

If images are downloaded and used from the ODA web site please be sure to credit the photographer.
Perennial herb; flowers May to October. Grows one to two feet tall. Stems and leaves fleshy; overall plant is coarsely hairy. Basal leaves are narrowly oblong; mid leaves are progressively smaller up the stem, and the upper leaves are sessile (no petiole) or clasping. Blue to purple flowers with white throats. Petals are five equal lobes, forming an uncurved tube. Flowers found in coiled clusters at the end of stems. As the flowers open, coils unfold. Fruit is a four-chambered nutlet; each nutlet contains one seed.
This plant invades alfalfa fields, pastures, pine forests, rangeland, riparian and waste areas. The fleshy stalks can cause hay bales to mold. Large, very dense stands can occur, offering strong competition to native plant communities.
Common bugloss originated in the Mediterranean. It was cultivated in medieval gardens and is now naturalized all over Europe and in much of eastern North America. It's considered invasive in the Pacific Northwest. This herb has numerous medicinal uses as well as a dyeplant.
Distribution in Oregon
The first report in Oregon was 1933 in Wallowa County.

Biological controls
No approved biological control agents are available.
Printable trifold common bugloss brochure (pdf 279kb)