Viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Viper's bugloss is a perennial plant often confused with Paterson's curse. It is a weed of pastures and roadsides.

Profile

How does this weed affect you?

Viper's bugloss is a widespread weed of pasture, crops and other disturbed sites and can be poisonous to livestock. 

Where is it found?

Viper's bugloss usually grows in cool areas mainly on the Central and Southern Tablelands of New South Wales particularly along roadsides.

How does it spread?

Viper's bugloss is spread only through the movement of seeds. It appears to be less palatable to stock than Paterson's curse and less competitive. 

What does it look like?

Viper’s bugloss is a closely related weed to Paterson's curse (Echium plantagineum). It is often confused with Paterson’s curse but differs in many ways:

  • It is usually a biennial, or sometimes a perennial plant, whereas Paterson’s curse is usually an annual.
  • Its rosette leaves are stalkless and spear-shaped.
  • All its leaves have a warty appearance and are narrower than those of Paterson’s curse.
  • Its leaf veins are not prominent – they are longitudinal and unbranched.
  • The flowers are usually more of a blue in colour and are on a pronounced flower spike. Flowers are smaller (about 1.5–2 cm long) and have four of the five stamens protruding well past the end of the flower.
  • The main flowering period begins later in the season than that for Paterson’s curse and extends over a longer period.
  • The stems are more erect and the stout taproot is usually much longer.

What type of environment does it grow in?

Viper's bugloss is more common in winter-rainfall areas. 

Acknowledgements

Authors: Mikala Naughton former Project Officer (weeds), Orange Agricultural Institute
Jenene Kidston,  District Agronomist, Mudgee
Paul Sullivan, Coordinator, Biological Weed Control, Tamworth
Dr Chris Bourke, former Principal Research Scientist (poisonous plants), Orange Agricultural Institute

The authors would like to thank the following reviewers Royce Holtkamp, Entomologist, Tamworth and Sarah Robson, Veterinary Officer, Wagga Wagga for their comments and contributions.

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Control

The key to preventing seedling establishment is to aim for full ground cover by using competitive crops or pastures. 

The management techniques to control Paterson's curse, can be applied to control viper's bugloss, including the biocontrol options. 

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 500 mL to 1 L per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 300 to 600 mL per 100 L water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 50 parts water
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 9 parts water
Comments: Splatter gun
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Roundup®)
Rate: One part product to 20 parts water
Comments: Wipe onto leaves
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 - 20 g per 100 L water plus surfactant
Comments: Spot spray
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 g per 1 L of water plus surfactant
Comments: Wipe onto leaves
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2018