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Uses

Toxic parts

The leaves are poisonous[1]. No cases of poisoning have ever been recorded for this plant[2]. The bristly hairs on the leaves and stems can cause severe dermatitis[3].

Edible uses

Notes

Young leaves - raw or cooked[4][5][6]. They can be used as a spinach substitute[5]. Mild and mucilaginous[K]. Although somewhat hairy, when chopped up finely they are an acceptable part of a mixed salad[K]. Eating the leaves is said to stimulate sexual desire[5]. Use with caution, there is an unconfirmed report of toxicity[7].

Leaves

Material uses

A red dye is obtained from the root[4].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Viper's bugloss was once considered to be a preventative and remedy for viper bites[8]. It is related to borage, Borago officinalis, and has many similar actions, especially in its sweat-inducing and diuretic effects[8]. In recent times, however, it has fallen out of use, partly due to lack of interest in its medicinal potential and partly to its content of pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic in isolation[8].

The leaves and flowering stems are antitussive, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and vulnerary[9][4][10]. An infusion of the plant is taken internally as a diuretic and in the treatment of fevers, headaches, chest conditions etc[11][8]. The juice of the plant is an effective emollient for reddened and delicate skins, it is used as a poultice or plaster to treat boils and carbuncles[4][8]. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use[4]. The roots contain the healing agent allantoin[10].

The plant is said to be efficacious in the treatment of snake bites[9]. When chopped up finely, the fresh flowering heads can be made into a poultice for treating whitlows and boils[4].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow February-May or August-November in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 15°c. If the seed is in short supply then it can 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.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Echium vulgare. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in any good garden soil but flowers best when the soil is not too rich[12]. Requires a sunny position[13].

The plant is very deep rooted[9].

A good bee plant[9].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Echium vulgare. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Echium vulgare.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Echium vulgare
Genus
Echium
Family
Boraginaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
?
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
?
Herbaceous or Woody
?
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
?
Mature Size
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  2. ? Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.14.24.34.44.54.64.74.8 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.48.5 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.4 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  10. ? 10.010.110.2 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
  12. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  14. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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