Anchusa officinalis - L.
Common Name Alkanet, Common bugloss
Family Boraginaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Roadsides, pastures and waste ground, preferring warmer areas[9, 13].
Range Europe to W. Asia. An introduced casual in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

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Anchusa officinalis/ Alkanet or Common bugloss is a perennial usually found on roadsides, pastures and waste ground. It has edible leaves and flowers and minor medicinal and other uses.

Anchusa officinalis Alkanet, Common bugloss
Anchusa officinalis Alkanet, Common bugloss
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Anchusa officinalis is a BIENNIAL/PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Colouring.

Leaves and young shoots - cooked[9, 115, 166]. Used like spinach[2, 183]. Flowers - cooked or used as a garnish[183]. The red dye obtained from the roots can be used to colour oils and fats[105].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Demulcent;  Expectorant;  Homeopathy.

All parts of the plant are demulcent and expectorant[9]. They are used externally to treat cuts, bruises and phlebitis and internally to treat coughs and bronchial catarrh[9]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used in the treatment of stomach and duodenal ulcers[9].


Other Uses

A red dye is obtained from the roots[13].
Cultivation details
Succeeds in most soils, preferring a sunny position[1]. Prefers a fertile well-drained soil[111]. The flowers are a rich source of nectar and are very attractive to bees[1]. The dry leaves emit a rich musky fragrance, rather like wild strawberry leaves drying.
Seed - sow spring in pots of sandy soil[200]. An overnight drop in temperature helps germination[133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 4 weeks at 21°c[133]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seed bed during July, transplanting the plants to their final positions during early autumn[245]. These plants will grow larger and flower earlier than those sown in spring.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. In the US: Oregon (common bugloss): ”B” designated weed/Quarantine and Washington a Class B noxious weed/Noxious weed seed and plant quarantine.
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Anchusa azureaAnchusa, Italian bugloss21


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Readers comment
Marinella Zepigi   Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Anchusa officinalis L. - Description - Photos

   May 27 2013 12:00AM
Alkanet is also known as Common Bugloss
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Subject : Anchusa officinalis  

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