Cariboo Chilcotin Invasive Plant Committee | CCCIPC

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Common Bugloss

Species
Anchusa officinalis

Common bugloss (Anchusa officinalis) is a biennial or perennial forb that shows tubular flowers that are initially reddish and turn deep purplish blue with white centres. The coil gradually straightens as the flower buds open. Leaves are covered with stiff hairs, are basal with stalked and lance-shaped lower leaves, becoming gradually smaller upward on the stalks. Each flower produces a cluster of 4 barbless nutlets. Plants often have several stems and grow 30–80 cm tall. 

Common bugloss invades disturbed areas where competing vegetation is sparce, pastures and hay lands — reducing yield and carrying capacity. This invasive spoils alfalfa hay because the succulent leaves and stems become mouldy (it is not a problem for cultivated crops). Common bugloss occurs only rarely in south-central BC and southern Vancouver Island.

Control includes cutting or mowing before plants flower to prevent seed production. Common bugloss also has a deep taproot to remove to prevent re-establishment, and plants and all plant parts should be bagged, removed from the site, and burned. Monitor disturbed sites, especially on sandy or gravelly areas, for new outbreaks. Please take care to clean equipment, vehicles, and footwear before leaving an infested area. 

Exotics: European bugloss (Anchusa arvensis) and Italian bugloss (Anchusa azurea) also occur in BC, but they have very limited distribution and only a few specimens have been found.