Common name: Viper’s bugloss. Lus Nathrach.
This population originates from Co Down. Irish Grid reference: J431354.
Biennial that acts as an annual if it starts early enough. From a basal rosette of green prickly leaves, stems of flowers sprout to about 150cms tall. Blue colour flowers emerge from pink buds with a length of flowering season to beat all others. Ours flowered from May to November. For most flowers it’s too cold by October to produce nectar, but there’s a chance of pollen. Pollen’s of use to Apis m. (honey bee), at this time of year for late brood.
Generally this is a favourite plant for bumblebees, honey bees, hover-files and butterflies alike. Multiple flowers on multiple stems and stalks make giving it a visit worthwhile. They look amazing, a real country cottage garden flower bed plant.
A beach and sand dune inhabitant naturally, it’s versatile and has grown well for us in our raised “Coastal” beds and also in the field. Our soil is mostly silt so i suspect a heavy clay soil may give it pause, but it may be worth a go as it’s one of the bee best and prettiest of our wild flowers.
Sow early autumn into seed trays and prick out gently into modules before winter. Overwinter in a cold frame or polytunnel. In early spring plant them into place and you should get flower this year June/July/August, if not, flower spikes will come along next year. You can direct sow in October if you have a good clean seed bed.
To follow. Comments welcome 🙂
Approx. 310 seeds per gram.
Approx. contents of Gardeners packet is 150 seeds, 0.5g.