This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol5-6", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
This species is a weed of rich waste or cultivated ground, and has been largely introduced with grain. The habit is prostrate, then ascending. The plant is prickly. The stems are stout or slender, soft, simple or branched, angular, ridged, the prickles shortly hooked and scattered, turned downwards. The leaves are blunt or acute, hairy, the lower stalked, the upper stalkless, linear to oblong, thin. The flowers are blue, small, solitary, axillary, shortly-stalked. The calyx in fruit has unequal lips, fan-shaped with palmate lobes, the ultimate flower-stalks are short, curved downwards. The receptacle has 2 membranous scales formed of the detached cuticle of the calyx. The plant is 6-18 in. high, flowering from June to August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
This plant is found on ballast hills, sandbanks, hedges, field borders, near gardens, waste places. The habit is erect. The root is stout. The plant is densely softly hairy. The stem is rough, with the hairs bent down, angular, simple or branched. The radical leaves are narrowed into long, winged stalks. The stem-leaves are not stalked, and are oblong to lance-shaped, linear to oblong, the upper half-clasping. The flowers are purple, more or less stalkless, in crowded, one-sided spikes, or in pairs. The bracts are ovate to lance-shaped. The calyx - segments are blunt, ovate to lance-shaped, hairy both sides, narrow, longer than the tube. The scales of the corolla are hairy, white, papillose. The small nutlets are brown. The plant is 1-2 ft. high, flowering from June to August, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is hedges, waste places, near ruins, waysides. The habit is erect. The root is stout. The stem is rough, with spreading hairs, which are turned downwards, simple. The radical leaves are oblong to ovate, long-stalked, the stem-leaves are ovate, on short stalks, acute. The flowers are salver-shaped, bright blue, on short stalks, in cymes in axillary pairs, which are very hairy, long-stalked. The flower-stalks are spreading, slender, and bear 2 dense spikes with an intermediate flower. The calyx-segments are narrow, linear, hairy outside. The bracts are very small, lance-shaped. The scales of the corolla are downy, white. The nutlets are small, netted. The plant is 1-3 ft. high, flowering from May to July, and is a herbaceous perennial.
The habitat of this plant is waste ground, dry sandy places, meadows, and banks. The plant has the rosette habit. The stem is usually branched from below, or simple, erect. The leaves are narrow, linear to oblong, more or less acute, the upper sometimes opposite. The flowers are pale yellow, then blue, in long cymes (stalked), small. The calyx is bell-shaped, cleft half-way, with numerous, spreading, hooked, few straight hairs, closed in fruit, oblong, the lobes erect, and longer than the ultimate flower-stalks, which are ascending. The tube of the corolla exceeds the limb, which is concave, and lengthens so that the stamens are as long as the style, which is nearly as long as the calyx. The nutlets are black, and bordered. The plant is 1-10 in. high, flowering from April to July, and is a herbaceous annual.
The habitat of this plant is dry places. The habit is erect. The rootstock is reddish, spindle-shaped. The stem is ascending or erect, hairy, branched, the lower branches prostrate. The radical leaves are lance - shaped, stalked, blunt. The upper leaves are half-clasping, linear to oblong, heart-shaped below, with lateral ribs, spreading, blunt, enlarged below. The flowers are dark-bluish-purple, or violet, in spreading curved cymes, or long spikes. The sepals are awl - like, lance-shaped. .The stamens are hardly longer than the corolla, unequal, short, 2 intermediate and 2 longer. The nutlets are angular, rough. The plant is 1-3 ft. high, flowering in June and July, and is a herb aceous biennial.