Page author: David Giblin
Anchusa officinalis
common alkanet, common bugloss

Distribution: Occurring in scattered locations on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to California, east to Rocky Mountains and northern Great Plains, also from the Great Lakes region to northeastern North America.

Habitat: Roadsides, fields, ditches, wastelots, and other disturbed, open areas at low elevations.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Introduced from Mediterranean region

Growth Duration: Biennial, Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bees, flies


Taprooted perennial, the several stems 3-8 dm. tall; herbage with spreading hairs throughout.


Lower leaves oblanceolate, petiolate, 6-20 cm. long and 1-2.5 cm. wide; other leaves gradually reduced, becoming sessile and lanceolate.


Flowers in terminal, helicoid, bracteate false racemes which elongate and straighten with age, the bracts lance-triangular; calyx 5-7 mm. long, the 5 lobes lanceolate, about equaling the tube; corolla blue-purple, 6-11 mm. long, the limb 6-11 mm. wide, the 5 lobes rounded.


Nutlets 4, wrinkled, 2 mm. high, with a basal projection that fits into a pit in the receptacle.

Accepted Name:
Anchusa officinalis L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 133. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Anchusa officinalis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Anchusa officinalis checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Anchusa officinalis information.

E-Flora BC: Anchusa officinalis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Anchusa officinalis photos.

USDA Plants: Anchusa officinalis information.

37 photographs:
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