Large Blue Alkanet - Anchusa italica

Scientific Name: Anchusa italica (syn. A. azurea).

English Name: Large Blue Alkanet or Italian Bugloss.

French Name: La Buglosse d'Italie or la Buglosse azurée.

5 Key Characters:
  • conspicuous, bright, deep blue flowers with 5 rounded lobes ('petals').
  • tuft of white hair in the flower throat.
  • leaves thick, rough, long and pointed.
  • erect, thick stemmed and many branched, covered in bristles.
  • up to 1.2 m.
Lookalikes: Purple Gromwell Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum, which is over all a lighter brighter colour, the flowers have more pointed petals and the leaves are not as rough.

Habitat: Especially in crop margins, but also stony cultivated fields, vineyards, tracks, rubble and fallow land - generally on fairly dry calcareous soil in full sun. Sometimes appears on the banks of recently renovated étangs (fishponds). More or less restricted to the lowlands.

Flowering Period: May-June-July-August.

Status: Rare, localised, in strong decline and on the edge of its range here (primarily an eastern and southern European species), but often a garden escapee. It is declining in the wild in northern France probably because it is not cultivated in gardens so much now. It can be found at one site near Preuilly-sur-Claise and 6 in the Brenne.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Photographs are numbered from left to right, and top to bottom. All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. 1 - 3 on fallow land near Chaumussay, May.

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