Highway Blooms - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Ron Williams
Jermyn, PA (Zone 5B)
Question by broan539
July 3, 2005
What is the type of flower that is planted on most of the state highways in Northeast Pennsylvania? It's a purple shade and covers up the spaces around the roads. I checked with the state and they could not give me an answer. I wanted to use that in my backyard but can't find out.


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Answer from NGA
July 3, 2005

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There are a number of wildflowers planted along the highways, but the most commonly encountered is Bugloss, Viper's/ Blueweed (Echium vulgare). A very hairy, bristly 1-2 1/2'' plant. The sessile alternate leaves are smooth-edged. The 1/2" flowers are borne on the upper sides of short, curled side-branches and only 1 or 2 flower blooms at a time. The funnel-shaped corolla has 5 lobes, the upper longer than the others. The buds are red and the corolla is blue to purple. Long red stamens project beyond the corolla. Blooms June-September in waste places, roadsides.

Small bugloss (Lycopsis arvensis) is similar but the flowers are only half as large.

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