Echium maculatum
Common Name: echium 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Boraginaceae
Native Range: Western Asia, Europe
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Dark red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Best grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates average soils. As a biennial, this plant will produce a basal clump of foliage the first year from which rise flowering spikes in the second year. This biennial will remain in the landscape by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Echium maculatum, commonly known as Russian bugloss, is a biennial herb that typically grows to 1-3’ tall. It is native to steppes, dry slopes and meadows from central Europe to Bulgaria, northern Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, southeastern Poland and western Russia. Plants are endangered in many parts of their native range. Each plant produces a basal clump of lanceolate to elliptic leaves (to 4” long) in the first year. In the second year, one or more narrow, branchless, spire-like flowering stems rise to as much as 3’ tall in summer (June-August), each bearing showy dark red flowers with protruding stamens. Flowers give way to nutlets, and the plant then dies.

Some experts believe this species should be removed from the genus Echium and placed in the single-species genus known as Pontechium maculatum.

Echium is the Greek name for this plant. It is derived from echis which means viper in reference to (a) the nutlet shape which resembles the head of a viper and (b) the ancient medicinal use of the plant root as a treatment for snakebite.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin maculatus meaning spotted.


No known serious insect or disease problems.


Sunny borders, cottage gardens, wild gardens and naturalized areas.