Note: Most species (except Mertensia) more or less hoary

Choose species - Ordered by colour (noting that many spp. change from pink to blue):

Blue/mauve/pink . . . or . . . Yellow to white

Blue/mauve - pink - red:

Lycopsis arvensis
Pentaglottis sempervirens
Omphalodes verna
Green Alkanet

Mertensia maritima
Pulmonaria officinalis
Borago officinalis
Giant Forget-me-not

Cynoglossum officinale


Yellow to white:

Myosotis discolor
Amsinckia micrantha
Lithospermum officinale
Buglossoides arvensis
Changing Forget-me-not
Common Fiddleneck
Common Gromwell
Field Gromwell

Symphytum tuberosum
Symphytum orientale
Symphytum officinale
Tuberous Comfrey
White Comfrey
Common Comfrey

Amsinckia . . . . . Fiddleneck

Amsinckia micrantha . . . . Common Fiddleneck

Recently introduced casual of arable land esp. E En and E Sc

Buglossoides has similar lvs

Anchusa . . . . . Bugloss or Alkanet

Anchusa azurea . . . . Garden Anchusa

Uncommon escape in lowland Br; fls up to 20 mm across with calyx divided to base

Anchusa officinalis . . . . Alkanet

Introduced on rough and waste ground in lowland Br

See also:

Borago . . . . . Borage

Borago officinalis . . . . Borage

Grown as a herb and often persistent on waste tips etc.

Brunnera . . . . . Giant Forget-me-not

Brunnera macrophylla . . . . Giant Forget-me-not

A persistent throw-out

Similar genera :

Myosotis Omphalodes

Buglossoides . . . . Gromwell

Buglossoides arvensis (was Lithospermum arvense). . . . Field Gromwell

Local and declining arable weed on basic soils and more in S; note lack of veins on lvs

Cynoglossum . . . . . Hound's-tongue

Cynoglossum officinale . . . . Hound's-tongue

On open ground esp. on limestone and in S Br and E Ire

Echium . . . . . Viper's-bugloss

Choose from the examples below:

Echium vulgare
Echium plantagineum
Echium pininana

N.B. Main differences between E. vulgare and E. plantagineum are:
Blue vs Purple flowers; 4-5 exserted stamens vs 2 ; hairs all over outside of flower vs. only on margin and veins of flower

Echium pininana . . . . Giant Viper's-bugloss

Self sown escape esp. in CI, Cornwall and Scillies

Echium plantagineum . . . . Purple Viper's-bugloss/Patterson's Curse/Salvation Jane

2 stamens exserted from flower; flowers purple not blue; Local in Jersey, Scillies and Cornwall.

Fasciated form of E. plantagineum

Echium vulgare . . . . Viper's-bugloss

Blue flowers, 4-5 stamens extend out of flower; locally frequent esp. on calcareous soils and in S& E

Lithospermum . . . . .Gromwell

Lithospermum officinale . . . . Common Gromwell

Grassy and bushy places esp. on basic soils and more in S; veined lvs

See also Field Gromwell (was Lithospermum) (now Buglossoides arvensis):

and Purple Gromwell (Aegonychon purpureocaeruleum) is purple flowered and very local esp. in SW En

Lycopsis (was Anchusa). . . . . Bugloss

Lycopsis arvensis . . . . Bugloss

A weed of arable land on calcareous soils in CI, and BI

See also:

Mertensia . . . . .Oysterplant

Mertensia maritima . . . . Oysterplant

Local on coasts, esp in N Sc

Myosotis . . . . .Forget-me-not

Key to Myosotis spp.:
- Hairs on calyx adpressed (flat) or absent:

- Some hairs on calyx tube patent, stiff or hooked:

. . . Similar plants:

Myosotis alpestris . . . . Alpine Forget-me-not

Very local on mountains only

Myosotis arvensis . . . . Field Forget-me-not

Hairs all over are patent; hooked patent hairs on calyx; corolla <5mm (petal < tube); common; (cf. Veronica arvensis on R in 4th pic)

Myosotis discolor . . . . Changing Forget-me-not

Esp. on dry sandy sites across the BI

Myosotis laxa . . . . Tufted Forget-me-not

All hairs flattened on stem; widespread in wet places

Not shown is Myosotis stolonifera (Pale Forget-me-not) which also grows in wet places, has short lvs and many runners from lower nodes

Myosotis ramosissima . . . . Early Forget-me-not

Early flowering (Mar) tiny annual with patent hairs, hooked hairs on calyx; corolla blue; common in sandy soils (e.g. near coast) esp. in CI and En

Myosotis scorpioides . . . . Water Forget-me-not

In wet areas; calyx with sparse appressed hairs and broad teeth divided <half way to base of calyx; distinguished by long style; common

Myosotis secunda . . . . Creeping Forget-me-not

In wet areas; calyx divided half way to base; long pedicels; lower stem with patent hairs; common in upland and N & W BI, absent C En and E Anglia

Myosotis sicula . . . . Jersey Forget-me-not

Rare - only at one current site in Jersey; tiny fls, calyx divided <half way to base; calyx with all hairs straight and appressed

Myosotis sylvatica . . . . Wood Forget-me-not

Calyx with dense appressed to patent hairs with many hooked hairs; corolla to 8mm with petal > tube; locally common esp. in N Br

Omphalodes . . . . . Blue-eyed-Mary

Omphalodes verna . . . . Blue-eyed-Mary

Scattered as a garden throw-out

Similar spp. :

Myosotis Brunnera

Pentaglottis . . . . .Green Alkanet

Pentaglottis sempervirens . . . . Green Alkanet

Frequent in hedges and woodland edges

Phacelia . . . . .Phacelia

See Hydrophyllaceae

Pulmonaria . . . . .Lungwort

Pulmonaria officinalis . . . . Lungwort

Naturalised as garden escape in woods and rough ground

Pulmonaria rubra . . . . Red Lungwort

Naturalised as garden escape in woods and rough ground

A number of other +/- rare varieties or spp. are known.

Symphytum . . . . . Comfrey

All spp. rather rough to handle; N.B. several other spp. recognised but are mostly difficult to distinguish accurately

Key to Symphytum spp.:

Russian comfrey
Tuberous comfrey
S. x uplandicum
S. officinale
S. officinale
S. tuberosum

White Comfrey
Hidcote Blue
Caucasian Comfrey

S. orientale
S. x hidcotense
S. caucasicum

Symphytum caucasicum . . . Caucasian Comfrey

Clear blue fls, calyx divided 1/3 to base, lvs shortly decurrent down stem; scattered in shady places in Br

Symphytum officinale . . . Common Comfrey

Lower lvs largest; Note the calyx teeth longer than tube and long wings on stem; fls purple or creamy-white

Symphytum orientale . . . White Comfrey

Calyx lobes < < than tube; no wings down the stem

Symphytum tuberosum . . . Tuberous Comfrey

Middle leaves longer than lowest; calyx lobes longer than tube

Symphytum x hidcotense . . . Hidcote-blue Comfrey

Flowers blue (start pink); stem lvs with petioles not decurrent down stem

Symphytum x uplandicum . . . Russian Comfrey

Fls pink turning blue; upper stem leaves sessile and clasping stem with short wings extending down stem; lower lvs with wings on petiole; note flower shape; frequent over BI

Other spp. include:

Symphytum asperum . . . Rough Comfrey

Rare; Upper leaves short petioles and no wings on stem; Petioles without wings; Hooked bristles on stem ; Flowers sky-blue

Symphytum grandiflorum . . . Creeping Comfrey

Plant with leafy stolons and fairly small lvs (4-8 cm); Unbranched stem; Pale yellow flowers (tinge of red?);

Trachystemon . . . . . Abraham-Issac-Jacob

Trachystemon orientalis . . . . Abraham-Issac-Jacob

Naturalised as garden escape in woods