I promised you this weed days ago, and here it is. Meet Echium vulgare, Viper's Bugloss, or sometimes just called Blueweed. It grows in a spike of flowers, up to about 30 inches tall. It's in the Boraginaceae family, which means it's related to Borage, Comfrey, and Forget-me-nots. The color ranges from a pale blue, to the bright blue shown here. I really love the color! (I've also made the background tile for the blog from it- as of this date anyway.)
The plant is not native to North America, but it isn't listed as invasive except in the state of Washington. It grows all over my lawn, but since I do try to keep the lawn mowed, I've managed to get some of them to grow in one of my flower beds. It's a biennial, which means that it takes two years for it to set seeds. In the first year it just grows a flat rosette of strap-like leaves. In the second year the flower stalk appears. I've had good luck moving the rosettes. It self-seeds easily.
I love the name of the plant too! Bugloss is such a funny word. It means "ox tongue" in Greek. The name was given to the plant because the whole plant is rough and hairy, and the leaves are long and oval. So someone a long time ago though that it felt like the rough tongue of an ox. And an infusion of the plant was supposedly good for purging poisons from the body, such as snake venom. Thus the "viper" part of the name.
So from a distance the stalks look like a drift of blue. But the very best is the closeup.
I just love how each flower starts out with pinkish edges and then opens to that perfectly clear blue. And aren't the stamens just amazing? The flowers last a long time, often two weeks or more.
You might notice that the pictures are clickable. From now on, with at least some of my pics then will be able to be clicked to open a larger version. The bad news is that they will sometimes also open an ad window. But I'm trying out this image service. Let me know if it's too obnoxious, but I wanted to be able to let people open larger pictures and I can't keep dumping all the pictures for four blogs on my server space.
See Two More Special Violets for another favorite blue flower