Anchusa azurea Mill.
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Anchusa azurea, commonly known as large blue alkanet, Italian bugloss, is a perennial with sky-blue flowers, hence the epithet 'azurea'.
Anchusa azurea was described by Philip Miller in 1768. The name is considered as validly published.
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.
The comparatively long-lived perennials have a stemless growth and reach heights of 90 to 150 centimetres.
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.
Anchusa azurea is native to Southern Europe and western Asia.
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 -40Â°C (USDA zone 3).
Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber:
- open areas
Tolerance of special soil conditions
- none: waterlogging, winter dampness
- high: drought
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.
Pests and Diseases
- Walter Erhardt, Erich GÃ¶tz, Nils BÃ¶deker, Siegmund Seybold: Der groÃe 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.