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Common adder head (Echium vulgare), illustration

Common adder head ( Echium vulgare ), illustration

Euasterids I
Family : Boraginaceae (Boraginaceae)
Subfamily : Boraginoideae
Tribe : Lithospermeae
Genre : Adderheads
Scientific name

The adder heads ( Echium ), also known as adder heads , are a genus of plants within the predatory leaf family (Boraginaceae). The genus includes about 65 species. The genus name is derived from the striking stylus that are split like serpent tongues at the end. In Central Europe one sees the blue flowering common adder head ( Echium vulgare ) most frequently .


Vegetative characteristics

Echium boissieri leaf rosette in the first year

Mediterranean and Central European Echium species are annual to biennial or perennial herbaceous plants that can reach heights of up to 1 meter depending on the species. In Madeira , Cape Verde and the Canary Islands there are also many woody, shrub-like species. Above-ground parts of the plant are usually hairy with bristles.

The alternate leaves have a simple leaf blade.

Generative characteristics

Zygomorphic flowers of Echium judaeum

The terminal inflorescences are wraps with bracts. The flowers are usually stalked.

The hermaphrodite flowers are fünfzählig double perianth significantly (perianth) and unlike the flowers of most other Boraginaceae zygomorph . The five sepals that have grown together at their base enlarge slightly until the fruit is ripe and then bend together. The five blue, purple to pink petals are tubular or bell-shaped fused with mostly short corolla tubes and unequal corolla lobes. The unequal stamens have long, thin stamens and relatively small, elongated anthers. Two carpels are a vierfächerigen Upper permanent ovary grown. The thin stylus has two branches at the top, each with a small, head-shaped scar.

The Klausenfrucht breaks down into four partial fruits, which are mostly brown, straight, egg-shaped to narrowly egg-shaped, warty or smooth.

Teide blue adder head ( Echium auberianum ) on Tenerife
Inflorescence of Echium callithyrsum
Madeira adder's head inflorescences ( Echium candicans )
Echium gentianoides on La Palma
Hierro's adder's head inflorescence ( Echium hierrense )
Italian adder head ( Echium italicum )
Plantain-leaved adder's head ( Echium plantagineum )
Inflorescences of Webb's Adderhead ( Echium webbii )

Systematics and distribution

The genus Echium was established by Carl von Linné .

The genus Echium belongs to the tribe Lithospermeae in the subfamily Boraginoideae within the family Boraginaceae .

Species, subspecies and their distribution

Most of the 65 or so Echium species are found in Europe , the Middle East and North Africa . 28 species are endemic to Madeira , the Canary Islands and Cape Verde . Several species are considered invasive neophytes, for example in North America and Australia.

Europe, Mediterranean, Orient

  • Echium albicans Lag. & Rodr. : The two subspecies occur only in Spain :
    • Echium albicans Lag. & Rodr. subsp. albicans
    • Echium albicans subsp. fruticescens ( Coincy ) Valdés
  • Caucasian Adderhead ( Echium amoenum Fisch. & CAMey. ): It occurs in the Caucasus region and northern Iran .
  • Echium anchusoides Bacchetta , Brullo & Selvi : It wasfirst describedfrom Sardinia in 2000.
  • Narrow-leaved adder's head ( Echium angustifolium Mill. ): There are five subspecies:
    • Echium angustifolium Mill. Subsp. angustifolium : It occurs in Greece , on islands in the Aegean Sea, in Turkey , in Egypt , on the Sinai Peninsula , on Cyprus , Crete , in the area of Syria , Lebanon , Israel and Jordan .
    • Echium angustifolium subsp. elongatum G.Klotz : It occurs only in Libya .
    • Echium angustifolium subsp. expansum ( Hausskn. ) G. Klotz : It occurs in Turkey.
    • Echium angustifolium subsp. sericeum ( Vahl ) G.Klotz : It occurs in Libya, Egypt and on the Sinai Peninsula.
    • Echium angustifolium subsp. tunetanum G.Klotz : It occurs in Tunisia and Libya.
  • Echium arenarium cast. : It occurs in the Mediterranean from Morocco to Libya and from Portugal to Crete.
  • Echium asperrimum Lam. : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria , Tunisia, Spain, the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Italy and France.
  • Echium boissieri Steud. : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria, Spain and Portugal.
  • Echium cantabricum ( Laínz ) Fdz.-Casas & Laínz : It occurs in Spain.
  • Echium canum Emberger & Maire : It occurs in Morocco.
  • Echium creticum L .: The three subspecies occur in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Portugal , Spain, the Balearic Islands , France , Corsica and Sardinia .:
    • Echium creticum L. subsp. creticum
    • Echium creticum subsp. granatense (Coincy) Valdés (Syn .: Echium creticum subsp. coincyanum ( Lacaita ) R.Fernandes ): It occurs in Portugal, Spain and Sardinia.
    • Echium creticum subsp. sauvagei ( R. Fernandes ) Valdés (including Echium creticum subsp. algarbiense R. Fernandes ): It occurs only in Morocco.
  • Echium flavum Desf. : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria and Spain.
  • Echium gaditanum Boiss. : It occurs in Morocco, Portugal and Spain.
  • Echium glomeratum Poir. : It occurs in Cyprus, Turkey, Syria and Israel.
  • Echium horridum Batt. : It was first described from Algeria.
  • Echium humile Desf. : There are four subspecies:
    • Echium humile subsp. caespitosum ( Maire ) Greuter & Burdet : It occurs in Morocco.
    • Echium humile Desf. subsp. humile : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.
    • Echium humile subsp. nanum ( Coincy ) Greuter & Burdet : It occurs in Morocco.
    • Echium humile subsp. pycnanthum ( Pomel ) Greuter & Burdet : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Spain.
  • Italian adder head ( Echium italicum L. ): There are five subspecies:
    • Echium italicum subsp. biebersteinii ( Lacaita ) Greuter & Burdet
    • Echium italicum L. subsp. italicum (Syn .: Echium italicum subsp. albereanum (Naudin & Debeaux) Greuter & Burdet ): It occurs in South, Southeast, Central Europe and West Asia.
    • Echium italicum subsp. scaettae ( Pamp. ) Greuter & Burdet : It occurs in Libya.
    • Echium italicum subsp. siculum ( Lacaita ) Greuter & Burdet : It occurs in Sicily.
  • Echium judaeum Lacaita : It occurs in Israel and in the area of ​​Syria and Lebanon.
  • Echium longifolium Delile : It occurs in Libya, Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula.
  • Echium lusitanicum L .: It occurs in Portugal and Spain.
  • Echium modestum Ball : It occurs in Morocco.
  • Echium orientale L .: It occurs in Turkey.
  • Echium pabotii Mouterde : It occurs in the area of ​​Syria and Lebanon.
  • Echium parviflorum Moench : It occurs in North Africa, Southern Europe and Turkey.
  • Echium petiolatum Barratte & Coincy : It occurs in Morocco.
  • Plantain-leaved adder's head ( Echium plantagineum L. )
  • Echium rauwolfii Delile : It is distributed from North Africa via Israel to the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Echium rosulatum Lange : There are two subspecies:
    • Echium rosulatum Lange subsp. rosulatum : It occurs in Portugal and Spain.
    • Echium rosulatum subsp. davaei Rouy : It only occurs in Portugal.
  • Echium rubrum Forssk. : It occurs in Libya, Egypt, on the Sinai Peninsula and in the area of ​​Syria and Lebanon.
  • Echium sabulicola Pomel : The three subspecies occur in North Africa and Southern Europe:
    • Echium sabulicola Pomel subsp. sabulicola
    • Echium sabulicola subsp. decipiens ( pomel ) log
    • Echium sabulicola subsp. rifeum ( Pau ) Valdés : It occurs in Morocco.
  • Echium salmanticum Lag . : It occurs in Portugal and Spain.
  • Echium suffruticosum Barratte : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
  • Echium tenue Roth : The two subspecies occur only in Morocco.
    • Echium tenue subsp. dumosum ( Coincy ) G.Klotz
    • Echium tenue Roth subsp. tenue
  • Echium trygorrhizum Pomel : It occurs in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
  • Echium tuberculatum Hoffmanns. & Link : It occurs in Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Libya.
  • Echium velutinum Coincy : The three subspecies are only found in Morocco.
    • Echium velutinum Coincy subsp. velutinum
    • Echium velutinum subsp. versicolor ( H.Lindb. fil. ) Sauvage & Vindt
    • Echium velutinum subsp. vilmorinianum ( Sauvage & Vindt ) Klotz
  • Common adder head ( Echium vulgare L. ): With the subspecies:
    • Echium vulgare L. subsp. vulgar
    • Echium vulgare subsp. pustulatum ( Sm. ) E. Schmid & Gams

Macaronesian endemics

  • Echium acanthocarpum Svent. This also Taginaste gomero called endemic only comes on Gomera before. As a critically endangered species, it is under protection.
  • Echium aculeatum Poir. : It occurs on Tenerife , Gomera and El Hierro .
  • Echium auberianum Webb & Berthel. : This endemic occurs only in Tenerife.
  • Echium bethencourtii Santos : This endemic with white flowers only occurs on La Palma .
  • Echium bonnetii Coincy : It occurs on Tenerife, Gomera, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.
  • Echium brevirame Sprague & Hutch. : This low bush-like endemic occurs only on La Palma .
  • Echium callithyrsum Berthel. : Thisendemic endemic called Tajinaste azul with blue flowers occurs only in Gran Canaria, mainly near Tenteniguada .
  • Echium decaisnei Webb & Berthel. : There are two subspecies:
    • Echium decaisnei Webb & Berthel. subsp. decaisnei : This endemite called Tajinaste blanco with white flowers only occurs in Gran Canaria.
    • Echium decaisnei subsp. purpuriense Bramwell (Syn .: Echium famarae Lems & Holzapfel ): It occurs only on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
  • Echium gentianoides Webb & Coincy : The "gentian-like adder head" occurs only on La Palma between 1650 and 2400 meters altitude.
  • Echium giganteum Lf : This bush -like endemic, known as Taginaste gigante , with white flowers is only found on Tenerife.
  • Jandia adder head ( Echium handiense Svent. ): The Tajinaste azul de Jandía is on the Red List of Endangered Species . The (2004) remaining 145 plants only occur on a 2 km² area of ​​the Jandía peninsula on Fuerteventura.
  • Hierro's adder head ( Echium hierrense ) Webb ex Bolle : This endemic occurs only on Hierro.
  • Echium lancerottense Lems & Holzapfel : The low Viborina de Lanzarote wasfirst describedfrom Lanzarote .
  • Echium leucophaeum Webb : This endemic occurs only in Tenerife.
  • Echium onosmifolium Webb : The two subspecies only occur in Gran Canaria:
    • Echium onosmifolium Webb subsp. onosmifolium
    • Echium onosmifolium subsp. spectabile kunk.
  • Echium pininana Webb & Berthel. : The protected "giant adder head" is endemic to the laurel forests on La Palma, which only occurs in a few specimens there, but is distributed as an ornamental plant.
  • White anaga adder head ( Echium simplex DC. ): This endemic occurs only on Tenerife.
  • Echium strictum L. f. : There are three subspecies:
    • Echium strictum L. f. subsp. strictum : It occurs on Tenerife, Gomera, Gran Canaria, La Palma and Hierro.
    • Echium strictum subsp. exasperatum ( Webb ex Coincy ) Bramwell : This white-bluish-pink colored endemic called Taginaste chico only occurs on Tenerife.
    • Echium strictum subsp. gomerae ( Pit. ) Bramwell : This endemic occurs only on Gomera.
  • Sventenius adder's head ( Echium sventenii Bramwell ): This endemic only occurs on Tenerife.
  • Echium dreary Svent. : There are two subspecies that have white to pale pink flowers:
    • Echium dreary Svent. subsp. triste : This protected endemite, known as Viborina triste , only occurs in Gran Canaria.
    • Echium dreary subsp. nivariense ( Svent. ) Bramwell : It occurs only on Tenerife and Gomera.
  • Echium virescens DC. : This plant endemic to Tenerife grows up to 2 meters high. It is also grown as an ornamental plant and is used as food for bees.
  • Webb's Adderhead ( Echium webbii Coincy ): This endemic occurs only on La Palma.
  • Wild prets adder head ( Echium wildpretii H.Pearson ex. Hook. F. ): The two subspecies occur only on Tenerife and La Palma:
    • Echium wildpretii H. Pearson ex. Hook. f. subsp. wildpretii : This endemic occurs only in Tenerife.
    • Echium wildpretii subsp. trichosiphon ( Svent. ) Bramwell : This protected plant only occurs on La Palma.
Cape Verde

On the Cape Verde Islands there are about three species up to 2 meters high, all of which are popularly called língua de vaca (“cow's tongue”) because of the rough texture of the leaves :

Excluded species

The following species has been assigned to a different genus since 2000:

  • Pontechium maculatum (L.) U.-R.Böhle & Hilger (Syn .: Echium maculatum L. , Echium russicum Gmel. )

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Gelin Zhu, Harald Riedl, Rudolf V. Kamelin: Echium. In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (Ed.): Flora of China . Volume 16: Gentianaceae through Boraginaceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 1995, ISBN 0-915279-33-9 , pp. 357 (English, same text online as the printed work - PDF file ).
  2. Werner Greuter , Hervé-Maurice Burdet , Guy Long (eds.): Med-Checklist. A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-Mediterranean countries . Vol. 1: Pteridophyta (ed. 2), Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones (Acanthaceae - Cneoraceae) . Conservatoire et Jardin Botanique, Genève 1984, ISBN 2-8277-0151-0 , p.  82-87 ( online ).
  3. ^ Alfred Hansen, Per Sunding: Flora of Macaronesia. Checklist of vascular plants . In: Sommerfeltia . 4th edition. tape 17 , 1993, p. 1-295 .
  4. Plant Profile: Echium at USDA.
  5. F. Forcella, JT Wood, SP Dillon: Characteristics distinguishing invasive weeds within Echium (Bugloss). In: Weed Research. Volume 26, No. 5, 1986, pp. 351-364, DOI: 10.1111 / j.1365-3180.1986.tb00718.x .
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn Benito Valdés, 2011: Boraginaceae. : Datasheet Echium In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.
  7. a b c d e Benito Valdés: Notas sobre el género Echium L. In: Lagascalia. Volume 27, 2007, pp. 53–71 (PDF file)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  8. a b c d e Benito Valdés: Echium L. In: Santiago Castroviejo, C. Andrés, M. Arista, MP Fernández Piedra, MJ Gallego, PL Ortiz, C. Romero Zarco, FJ Salgueiro, S. Silvestre, Alejandro Quintanar ( Ed.): Flora Ibérica. Plantas Vasculares de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. Vol. XI. Gentianaceae - Boraginaceae . Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid 2012, ISBN 978-84-00-09415-7 , p. 413-446 ( PDF file ).
  9. Harald Riedl: Boraginaceae . In: Karl Heinz Rechinger (Ed.): Flora Iranica . tape 48 . Graz 1967, p. 213-215 .
  10. ^ Gianluigi Bacchetta, Salvatore Brullo, Federico Selvi: Echium anchusoides (Boraginaceae), a new species from Sardinia (Italy) . In: Nordic Journal of Botany . tape 20 , no. 3 , 2000, pp. 271–278 , doi : 10.1111 / j.1756-1051.2000.tb00743.x ( PDF ).
  11. Figure on
  12. Description and illustration on
  13. Illustration on
  14. S. Scholz: Echium handiense . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2011, e.T61658A12518563. [1]
  15. Illustration on
  16. Illustration and description on
  17. Illustration on
  18. a b c d e f Maria M. Romeiras, Helena C. Cotrim, Maria C. Duarte, Maria S. Pais: Genetic diversity of three endangered species of Echium L. (Boraginaceae) endemic to Cape Verde Islands. In: Biodiversity and Conservation , Volume 16, Issue 2, Springer 2007, pp. 547-566. doi : 10.1007 / s10531-006-6734-0
  19. Hartmut H. Hilger, Uta-Regina Böhle: Pontechium: a new genus distinct from Echium and Lobostemon (Boraginaceae) . In: Taxon . tape 49 , no. 4 , 2000, pp. 737-746 , JSTOR : 1223974 .

Web links

Commons : Adderheads ( Echium )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

further reading

  • Uta-Regina Böhle, Hartmut H. Hilger, WF Martin: Island colonization and evolution of the insular woody habit in Echium L. (Boraginaceae). In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , Volume 93, Issue 21, 1996, pp. 11740-11745. doi : 10.1073 / pnas.93.21.11740