Common Bugloss

Common Bugloss 1Common Bugloss (Anchusa officinalis)
Common Bugloss (Anchusa officinalis) is one of the newest invaders to the Bitterroot Valley, concentrated mostly in the Grantsdale area south of Hamilton. Native to Europe, this exotic plant has infested a significant amount of ground in both Washington and British Columbia. Near Spokane, WA, a small infestation spread to cover a 200 square mile area in only seven years.

Preferring dry, well drained gravelly soils, common poses a a very real threat to many areas in the valley, including both upland and river bottom sites. Common bugloss is a deeply tap rooted perennial reproducing primarily from seed (mature plant can produce close to 1000 seeds a season). Pieces of its deep taproot if not completely removed can also re-sprout into new individuals.

Common Bugloss primarily invades rangeland and disturbed areas where competition is sparse, but has proven itself a problem for hay producers, as its fleshy, succulent leaves do not cure and cause baled hay to mold. Though not poisonous to livestock or wildlife it has been shown to reduce carrying capacity in pasture lands.

Common Bugloss 2Description
Deep tap rooted perennial reproducing primarily by seed. Forms a rosette of basal leaves in its first year; a blue-purple flowered stalk in its second year. Multiple stalks form in subsequent years.

Stems
Robust hairy angular stems grow 1-2 feet at maturity. Plants produce severalflowering stalks.

Leaves
Lower leaves are lance-shaped with a stalk attaching it to stems while upper leaves are stalk-less with either smooth or slightly toothed edges. The slightly pointed leaves are succulent and fleshy and covered with stiff hairs.

Flowers
Initially reddish, later turning deep blue to purple with white centers. Flowers originate at the ends of the stalks with each flower stem coiled like a fiddle neck at first. As each flower bud opens the coil gradually straightens out.

Root
Long taproot. New shoots develop from root stock fragments.

Seed
Each flower produces 4 small, nut-let like seeds. One plant produces an average of 900 seeds

What Do I Do?
The Ravalli County Weed District is currently sponsoring community work days in the Grantsdale area in an effort to curb the spread of this new invader. For more information regarding those events, control and management options, to report a sighting or if you have any other questions regarding this or any other noxious weeds contact the Ravalli County Weed District.