Viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare)

Profile

Impact

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

Distribution

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

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. 

Description

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.

Habitat

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

Contact your local council weeds officer for control advice for Viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare).

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Legal requirements

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Noxious Weeds (Weed Control) Order 2014 published in the NSW Government Gazette, detailing weeds declared noxious in New South Wales, Australia, under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993. The Order lists the weed names, the control class and the control requirements for each species declared in a Local Control Authority area.

Area Class Legal requirements
Blue Mountains 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Camden 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Campbelltown 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Central Coast 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Cessnock 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Dungog 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Glen Innes Severn 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Goulburn Mulwaree 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Gunnedah 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Gwydir 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Hawkesbury River County Council 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Inverell 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Kempsey 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Ku-ring-gai 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Lake Macquarie 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Liverpool Plains 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Maitland 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Mid-Coast 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Moree Plains 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
New England Tablelands County Council 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Newcastle 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Parramatta 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread only in the part of the area formerly in Hills Shire Council
Port Macquarie-Hastings 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Port Stephens 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread only in the area formerly known as Queanbeyan City Council
Snowy Monaro Regional 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Snowy Valleys 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread only in the area formerly known as Tumut Shire Council
Tenterfield 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Upper Hunter County Council 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Upper Lachlan 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Wingecarribee 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread
Wollondilly 4 Locally Controlled Weed
The growth of the plant must be managed in a manner that continuously inhibits the ability of the plant to spread

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

Reviewed 2016