Open the Advanced Search


Anchusa arvensis

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, gardens, grassland, heathland, roadsides, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
Light blue, bell-shaped flowers with white honeyguides, measuring approximately 5mm across. The petal-tube is curved. Pollinated by bees.
Bugloss does not produce traditional fruits; instead, it reproduces through seeds. The plant produces small, black seeds that are dispersed for propagation. The seeds are not typically considered fruits in the botanical sense, but they play a crucial role in the plant's reproductive cycle. The seeds are often dispersed in the surrounding environment, allowing Bugloss to colonize new areas and continue its life cycle.
The stems are hairy and bristly. The narrow, pointed leaves are also hairy and warty. The upper leaves clasp their stems. Leaves alternate along the stems. Basal leaves are stalked but the upper leaves are stalkless. The leaves are shallow-toothed and hairy on both sides.
Bugloss is reported to have a mild, earthy fragrance. Certain parts of the plant, such as the leaves, may emit an aromatic scent, but it's generally subtle. The fragrance is not as pronounced as in some other aromatic plants, but it adds to the overall sensory experience when encountering Bugloss in its natural habitat.
Other Names:
Alkanet, Annual Bugloss, Field Bugloss, Small Bugloss.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Anchusa arvensis, also known as field bugloss or alkanet, is a species of flowering plant in the family Boraginaceae. It is native to Europe and is commonly found in grassland, meadows, and pastures. A. arvensis is an annual herb that grows to a height of up to 1 meter. It has hairy, green leaves and small, blue or purple flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. However, it can be toxic if consumed in large amounts and has the potential to displace native vegetation when introduced to new areas. A. arvensis is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate dry, rocky soil.


Bugloss is a beautiful wildflower belonging to the Boraginaceae family and its scientific name is Anchusa arvensis. This plant is also commonly known as field forget-me-not or small forget-me-not. This plant is native to Europe, but has also been found in North America and other regions.

Bugloss is a biennial plant that grows to be around 50-80 cm tall. It has a thick stem with hairy leaves and a dense, spike-like inflorescence that is blue, pink or purple in color. The flowers of bugloss are often used in flower arrangements and are popular among gardeners who are looking for a natural, wild touch to their gardens.

One of the interesting facts about bugloss is that its leaves and stems have a slight roughness to them. The plant also has a pungent, slightly bitter taste that can deter animals from grazing on it. This characteristic makes it an excellent addition to gardens as it is not often browsed by animals and can be used as an ornamental or landscape plant.

In addition to its ornamental qualities, bugloss has also been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The plant has been known to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as burns and wounds. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent addition to creams and lotions for treating skin irritations.

Overall, bugloss is a beautiful and versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you are looking to add a natural touch to your garden or are looking for a plant with medicinal properties, bugloss is an excellent choice. Just be sure to plant it in a location that receives full sun to partial shade and in well-draining soil.

Bugloss is a hardy plant and is able to thrive in a range of soil conditions, including sandy and rocky soils. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance plant.

In the wild, bugloss is often found growing along roadsides, in fields and in waste areas. This plant is attractive to a range of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, which makes it an excellent addition to a wildlife garden.

As a biennial plant, bugloss will produce leaves in the first year and flowers in the second year. Once it has flowered and set seed, the plant will die. However, the seeds will continue to germinate and produce new plants for future seasons.

In terms of cultivation, bugloss is best propagated from seed. Seeds should be sown in the spring or autumn, either directly in the ground or in pots. It is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, as bugloss is not tolerant of water-saturated soils.

Overall, bugloss is an attractive and versatile plant that is well-suited to a variety of gardening styles. Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance ornamental plant, a source of medicinal properties, or an addition to a wildlife garden, bugloss is definitely worth considering.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, bugloss has also been used for its oil-producing seeds. The seeds of bugloss are rich in oil, which is used for a variety of purposes, including cooking, lighting, and cosmetics.

The leaves and stems of bugloss have also been used as a source of food for livestock in some regions. Although the plant has a slightly bitter taste, it is still palatable to livestock and can provide a valuable source of food during times of food scarcity.

It is also worth noting that bugloss is a versatile plant and can be used in a range of landscaping and gardening projects. Whether you are looking to create a wildflower garden, a meadow, or simply want to add some natural beauty to your yard, bugloss is an excellent choice.

In conclusion, bugloss is a beautiful, versatile and useful plant that offers a range of benefits for gardeners, wildlife enthusiasts, and those looking for a plant with medicinal properties. Whether you are looking to add some natural beauty to your yard, create a wildlife-friendly garden, or are searching for a low-maintenance ornamental plant, bugloss is definitely worth considering.

30 Amazing Bugloss Facts

  1. Botanical Name: Anchusa arvensis is commonly known as Bugloss.
  2. Family: It belongs to the Boraginaceae family.
  3. Habitat: Bugloss is often found in dry, sandy, or disturbed areas, including fields, roadsides, and waste places.
  4. Appearance: The plant typically grows to a height of 30-60 cm and has hairy stems and leaves.
  5. Flowers: Bugloss produces bright blue, funnel-shaped flowers with a white center.
  6. Blooming Season: The flowering period usually occurs in late spring and early summer.
  7. Biennial: Bugloss is classified as a biennial plant, meaning it completes its life cycle in two years.
  8. Leaves: The leaves are lance-shaped and covered with stiff hairs.
  9. Medicinal Uses: Traditionally, Bugloss has been used in herbal medicine for various purposes, including respiratory and skin conditions.
  10. Wildlife Attraction: The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
  11. Edible Parts: Certain parts of Bugloss are edible, and the plant has historical culinary uses.
  12. Naturalized: Bugloss has naturalized in many regions and can be considered invasive in some areas.
  13. Common Names: Bugloss is also known by other common names such as Alkanet, Common Bugloss, and Corn Bugloss.
  14. Seed Production: The plant produces small, black seeds that are dispersed for propagation.
  15. Soil Preferences: Bugloss thrives in well-drained soils and is tolerant of poor soil conditions.
  16. Historical Uses: The roots of Bugloss have been historically used to produce red dyes.
  17. Cultural Significance: In some cultures, Bugloss has symbolic meanings associated with courage and strength.
  18. Gardening: It is sometimes cultivated in gardens for its attractive flowers.
  19. Resilience: Bugloss is known for its resilience in challenging environmental conditions.
  20. Herbaceous: As a herbaceous plant, Bugloss does not have a woody stem.
  21. Conservation: In certain regions, Bugloss populations may face threats due to habitat loss.
  22. Chemical Composition: Bugloss contains compounds like pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
  23. Traditional Medicine: It has been used in folk medicine for its potential anti-inflammatory properties.
  24. Drought Tolerance: Bugloss exhibits tolerance to dry conditions and is well-suited for xeriscaping.
  25. Seed Germination: The seeds of Bugloss require specific conditions for germination.
  26. Cultivation Challenges: Some gardeners may find Bugloss challenging to cultivate due to its specific requirements.
  27. Aromatic Qualities: Certain parts of the plant have a mild, earthy fragrance.
  28. Herbal Infusions: Bugloss leaves can be used to make herbal infusions.
  29. Root System: The plant has a deep taproot that aids in its survival in arid conditions.
  30. Bee Plant: Bugloss is considered a good plant for beekeeping, providing a nectar source for honeybees.


Bugloss filmed at Formby, Lancashire on the 8th May 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map