Anchusa azurea

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Anchusa azurea Mill.

Boraginaceae

Life form: perennial
Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun   3

Moisture: moderately moist

Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam - Soil: sandy clay - Soil: loamy clay - Soil: peat

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: decidious

Shape: lanceolate

Division: simple

Shape: five-stellate
Fruit: schizocarp

94D / 7672d6 

Inflorescence: panicle

Petals: single
Habit: erect

Growth form: stemless

Taxonomy

Divisio:
Magnoliophyta
Subdivisio:
Magnoliophytina
Classis:
Rosopsida
Subclassis:
Lamiidae
Superordo:
Solananae
Ordo:
Boraginales

Anchusa azurea, commonly known as large blue alkanet, Italian bugloss, is a perennial with sky-blue flowers, hence the epithet 'azurea'.

Naming

Anchusa azurea was described by Philip Miller in 1768. The name is considered as validly published.

Taxonomy

Anchusa azurea is a species in the genus Anchusa which contains approximately 50 to 89 species and belongs to the family of the Boraginaceae (Borage Family). The type species of the genus is Anchusa officinalis.

Characteristics

Anchusa azurea - habitus
Anchusa azurea - leaves
Anchusa azurea - flowers

Growth

The comparatively long-lived perennials have a stemless growth and reach heights of 90 to 150 centimetres.

Leaves

Anchusa azurea is deciduous. The green, simple leaves are alternate. They are lanceolate, entire and partly clasping. The surface of the leaves is hirsute.

Flowers and Fruits

Anchusa azurea produces panicles of erect, blue five-stellate flowers from May to July.

The perennials produce schizocarps.

Root System

Distribution

Anchusa azurea is native to Southern Europe and western Asia.

Cultivation

The perennials prefer a sunny situation on moderately moist soil. The substrate should be sandy-loamy, gritty-loamy, sandy clay, loamy clay or peaty soil with a pH between 8 and 10. They tolerate temperatures down to -40°C (USDA zone 3).

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber:

  • open areas

Tolerance of special soil conditions

  • none: waterlogging, winter dampness
  • high: drought

Uses

The recommended planting distance is 50 centimetres, the perennials are best planted in groups of 3 to 5. Suited for naturalizing, nature gardens and for perennial borders, as well as suited as bee pasture.

Maintenance and Propagation

  • Remove withered flowers after flowering if no self-seeding is desired.
  • Remove withered flowers regularly to prolong flowering.
  • The plants may need a supporting device.
  • Winter protection may be necessary.
  • Cut back considerably in autumn to promote compact growth.

Propagate by root cuttings or by division.

Cultivars

Pests and Diseases

Literature

  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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