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Washington State Weeds

Annual Bugloss

Anchusa arvensis • Class B

Family Name: Boraginaceae (Bor-AJ-in-nee-see-ee)
Common: Forget-me-not family
Genus: Anchusa (an-KOO-suh
Meaning: Plant used for cosmetic; as a rouge perhaps
Species: arvensis  (ar-VEN-sis)
Meaning: Of farmed or cultivated land

Annual Bugloss is a small leafy herb that grows about 1 to 3 feet tall.

Slender lance-shaped leaves grow alternately up its branching stem and are covered in bristly hairs and crinkled on the edges. Leaves get smaller in size going up the stem.  

Flowers are funnel shaped and sky blue with 5 petals flaring from a white center. Each flower produces four nutlets, each containing one seed.

 Why Is it a Noxious Weed?

It has become a problem in croplands, pastures, and fields, competing with native plants and crops. Because its seeds can remain dormant for many years, it has become a persistent weed problem.

Annual Bugloss is in the borage family, of which many species contain alkaloids that are toxic to livestock and humans.


Where Does it Grow? Preferred habitat is roadsides, disturbed habitats, pasture and cultivated fields.  It prefers sandy, alkaline soil.

Control Options:
  • The most effective control is prevention. Above all else, prevent plants from going to seed.
  • Small plants are easily pulled or dug up. Be sure to wear gloves when handling plants, as the bristly hairs can be painful and may cause skin irritation.
  • Chemical control can be difficult because of the hairs on the leaves. Spot spraying with an herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate, or 2, 4 D plus dicamba is effective in controlling Annual Bugloss. Be aware Glyphosate is non-selective and will injure any plants that it comes in contact with, including grass.
  • For the most effective treatment, spot applications should be applied at bud stage, prior to blooming. Annual Bugloss blooms from June until a hard frost. Spray each plant thoroughly on the stems and leaves, enough to be wet but not dripping. Be sure to read and follow all herbicide label directions and restrictions.
  • When using herbicides, read and follow all label instructions and obey all label precautions. (Note: pesticide product registration is renewed annually and product names and formulations may vary from year to year.)
  • To minimize any harmful impact on bees and other pollinators, timing is important.  Ideally, treat plants before blooming.  If treatment after blooming is necessary, do control work early in the morning, or in the evening when bees are less active.

More Information:

For more information on this noxious weed Download our Flyer or visit Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board Here


More Pictures:

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