Paterson's Curse and Viper's Bugloss

What are Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss?

(Echium plantagineum) and (Echium vulgare)
Paterson's curse flowers, photo: Kiowa FennerGeneric Weed Distribution Map
    Paterson's curse
Viper's bugloss flower, photo: Kiowa FennerGeneric Weed Distribution Map
  
    Viper's bugloss


  • Paterson's curse (Echium plantagineum) and viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare) are significant pasture weeds in Tasmania, and both weeds can be toxic to stock.
  • Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss are declared weeds under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss are prohibited in Tasmania.


How to identify Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss

  • Paterson's curse is an erect plant around 60 to 90 cm high. Seedlings appear in autumn and develop into a rosette (a flat whorl of leaves close to the ground) in winter. One or several flowering stems are produced in late winter and flowering occurs in spring. Flowers are trumpet shaped and usually blue/purple, but may be pink or white.
  • Viper's bugloss is similar to Paterson's curse, although the flowering stems are more branched and are usually shorter, and the flowers are slightly smaller and generally darker blue.

Paterson's curse, photo: Kiowa FennerPaterson's curse flowering, photo: Kiowa FennerPaterson's curse rosette, photo: Kiowa Fenner
Viper's bugloss flowers and rosettes, photo: Kiowa FennerViper's bugloss, photo: Kiowa Fenner
Viper's bugloss rosettes, photo: Kiowa Fenner
First three images above: Paterson's curse
Next three images: Viper's bugloss
(All images: K. Fenner, DPIPWE)


Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss in Tasmania

  • Paterson's curse occurs in all agricultural areas of Tasmania as small scattered infestations (see map). It is most common near old homesteads, on housing blocks in suburbs, in rural areas where poultry are kept, and along roadsides.
  • Viper's bugloss is less common in Tasmania and is generally restricted to dry banks in the south of the State (see map).


What is the legal status of Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss in your area?


Detailed management and control guidelines for Paterson's curse and viper's bugloss can be found in the Paterson's Curse and Viper's Bugloss Control Guide. Refer also to Herbicides for Paterson's Curse and Viper's Bugloss Control. For further information contact DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources.

See also
Paterson's Curse and Viper's Bugloss Control Guide
Herbicides for Paterson's Curse and Viper's Bugloss control
Statutory Management Plan for Viper's Bugloss
Statutory Management Plan for Paterson's Curse
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie
APVMA


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