Echium L.

Echium is a genus of ca. 60 species. It is by far most divers in Macaronesia and further occurs in the Mediterranean area, West-Asia and South-Africa. Only one species, Echium vulgare L., is native in Belgium. Several species are cultivated as ornamentals in Europe (Cox 2000) but most are frost-sensitive.

Native Echium vulgare is a very variable species. Plants with aberrant colour and size of the corollas, a different indumentum,… could represent non-native forms or even other, related species (e.g. Echium rosulatum Lange as per Stace 2010).

1       Corolla only hairy on veins and margins (outside), ca. 18-30 mm across. Usually only two stamens exserted. Basal leaves ovate === Echium plantagineum

         Corolla uniformly hairy, ca. 10-20 mm across. Usually 4-5 stamens exserted. Basal leaves lanceolate (native) === E. vulgare


Cox C.J. (2000) Echium. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 6. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 144-146.

Gibbs P.E. (1971) Taxonomic studies on the genus Echium, 1. An outline revision of the Spanish species. Lagascalia 1: 27-82. [available online at:]

Gibbs P.E. (1972) Echium. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 3. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 97-100.

Piggin C.M. (1977) The herbaceous species of Echium (Boraginaceae) naturalized in Australia. Muelleria 3: 215-244.

Retief E. & Van Wyk A.E. (1998) The genus Echium (Boraginaceae) in southern Africa. Bothalia 28(2): 167-177.

Stace C. (2010) New flora of the British Isles, 3th ed.: XXXII + 1232 p. Cambridge University Press.

Valsecchi F. (1977) Contributo alla conoscenza del genere Echium: 1. Echium della Sardegna. Webbia 32(1): 101-127.

Van Ooststroom S.J. & Reichgelt Th.J. (1961) Boraginaceae. In: van Ooststroom S.J. & al. (eds.), Flora Neerlandica, vol. 4(1). KNBV, Amsterdam: 92-140.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith