Botanist's Glossary

Echium, Viper’s bugloss - Echium plantagineum

  • Description
    • This annual or biennial plant (Borraginaceae family) grows to a height of 20 to 60 cm, has basal leaves, and is covered with soft hairs. It has large, upright, trumpet-shaped flowers, in shades that go from blue to purple and pink. It is also named "Viper's bugloss" as there is said to be some resemblance between the flowers and a viper's head. Echium plantagineum is commonly found in the Mediterranean region, where it grows in wasteland and along paths.
  • Traditions
    • Echium is used in ways similar to those of borage. In popular medicine, it is used to treat flu, pulmonary inflammation and eruptive fever in children.
  • Properties
    • Viper’s bugloss has protective, anti-free radical and softening properties. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and stearidonic acid, it is used as an emollient on sensitive and irritated skin for its soothing and comforting effect.