Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Terrestrial. Short tussock grassland, herbfield, bare land, riverbeds, usually in dry, low fertility inland areas.
Densely bristly annual or biennial herb to 50-90 cm high. Deep taproot. Stems stiff, erect, covered in reddish bristly hairs, with many short branches. Basal rosette leaves to 15 x 5 cm, narrow, stiffly bristly, harsh to touch. Stem leaves much smaller, alternate, also rough. Flowers funnel-shaped, 5- petalled, 12-18 mm long, pink in bud, becoming vivid blue (rarely remaining pink or white), 4 long stamens protruding and 1 smaller inside flower; in tapering spike-like heads, Nov-Jan. Seeds 4- angled, egg-shaped, 2 mm long.
E. plantagineum Pattersons curse is less common (warmer areas only), has flowers 2-3 cm long, purplish-blue, with 2 protruding stamens, leaves less harsh. Borago officinalis borage occ escapes from cultivation, has star-like flowers 20-25 mm diam, in drooping clusters with cone of dark purple stamens; leaves with wavy margins, basal leaves up to 30 x 20 cm.
November, December, January
Annual or Biennial. Produces many, long-lived seeds that are dispersed by wind, water, river gravel.
Reason for introduction
Tolerates dry, wind, physical damage and poor soils.
echium: Possibly named the Greek echis ‘viper’, named for the seeds’ resemblance to a vipers’ head. The plant was believed by the 1st century physician Dioscoridesbe to be a remedy for a viper’s bite.