Description: Annual to perennial herbs, usually with coarse, spreading hairs.
Leaves on stems alternate, basal leaves in a rosette; sessile or petiolate.
Inflorescence terminal, scorpioid cymes, bracteate; flowers sessile, in 2 rows. Sepals often unequal, fused at the very base. Corolla zygomorphic, funnel-shaped, often with scales at about the level of the ovary. Stamens 5, unequal, at least some exserted; anthers lacking an appendage, on distinct filaments, often exserted beyond the throat of the corolla. Ovary 4-lobed; style exserted beyond the stamens; stigma bilobed.
Fruit of 4 beaked mericarps splitting from a low gynobase.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 species, Europe, Mediterranean & Africa. Australia: 4 species (naturalised), all States.
Echium species are declared noxious weeds in certain shires of N.S.W.
Text by Peter G. Wilson
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Stem leaves with cordate base||Echium plantagineum|
|Stem leaves not cordate at base||2|
|2||Flowers blue with 4 stamens exserted; hairs on inflorescence white||Echium vulgare|
|Flowers cream to yellow with 5 stamens exserted; hairs on inflorescence yellowish|
Back to 1