Blueweed is one of the Bitterroot Valley newest invaders. Initially introduced south of Darby in the Rye Creek area. Blueweed has begun to expand rapidly throughout the Darby area and along the Bitterroot River. Currently infesting over a thousand acres in the valley. Washington and many Canadian provinces have designated Blueweed as noxious and invasive. Ravalli, Lincoln, Mineral, and Sanders have all listed it on their noxious weed list.
Blueweed (Echium vulgare)
Blueweed is considered a biennial, but under certain conditions may survive as a short lived perennial. Rosettes occur the first year with flowering stalks (up to 20 ) occurring the second year. Blueweed prefers well-drained gravelly soil and tends to invade rangeland and vacant or disturbed sites that lack competition. It is known to be toxic to livestock and wildlife and reduces carrying capacity in a pasture situation. Spread in Ravalli County has been aided by the growing infestation in the Bitterroot river.
- Biennial Height: 1 to 3 feet
- Flower/fruit: Numerous buds in a tight coil; one-sided cluster on lateral branches; tubular blue flowers; opens from base to the tip; upper lip exceeds the lower; long red stamens; petals turn pink with age
- Flowering Season: Summer to fall
- Foliage: Bristly hairy stems ; 2 to 6 inch alternate, oblong to lanceolate leaves; upper leaves are smaller and stalk less
- Site: Dry pastures, roadsides, waste places Comments: Introduced from Europe