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Ajuga genevensis - Blue Bugloss or Upright Bugloss

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Apiales - Family: Lamiaceae

Ajuga genevensis, Blue Bugloss or Upright Bugloss

This strikingly blue member of the family Lamiaceae is also known as Upright Bugle or Geneva Bugleweed.

Description

When this perennial evergreen member of the Lamiaceae is in bloom you can see at once that the flowers are generally a much deeper blue than those of Ajuga reptans, with which we are much more familiar in Britain and Ireland.

Upright or Blue Bugle grows to a height of between 10 and 30cm (20cm is typical) and has long-stalked oval, slighty-toothed basal leaves that are shallowly lobed. Leaves on the stem are alternate and unstalked. As with all members of the family Lamiaceae, the stems are square, but they have hairs on all sides, unlike Common or Creeping Bugle Ajuga reptans, whose stems have hairs on just two opposing sides.

The upright stem usually bears a dense inflorescence of violet-blue flowers, although occasionally the flowers can be pink or even white. The flowers towards the top of the spike are generally the most strikingly blue colour. Individual flowers have short upper lips with protruding stamens and pistil.

Flowering Times

Blue Bugle produces flowers between April and July.

Ajuga genevensis, Blue Bugloss or Upright Bugloss, closeup of flowers

Distribution

Not native to Britain and Ireland, these lovely wildflowers are fairly common in many parts of mainland Europe including France and Austria as well as parts of western Asia..

Habitat

Blue Bugle is usually found in short-sward grassland overlaying calcareous rocks, usually in sunny locations; it also occurs on some railway embankments where limestone chippings make the soil either neutral or alkaline.

Ajuga genevensis, Blue Bugloss or Upright Bugloss, southern France

The plants illustrated on this page were found in the Aveyron region of southern France.

Etymology

Ajuga, the genus name, comes from Greek and means 'without a yoke'. The specific epithet genevensis means (no surprise, surely) 'of Geneva'.


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