Paterson's Curse (Echium plantagineum) (also known as Salvation Jane) is in the borage family, Boraginaceae, which includes some useful herbs and garden plants, and other toxic weeds such as yellow burr weed (Amsinckia spp.), viper’s bugloss (E. vulgare) and common heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum).
With its purple flowers, Paterson’s curse is one of the most conspicuous weeds of pastures, roadsides and disturbed land in Western Australia. It is supposedly named after the Paterson family of Cumberoona, New South Wales, who planted it in their garden in the 1880s. In other parts of Australia it is sometimes called Salvation Jane, Blueweed, Lady Campbell Weed or the Riverina Bluebell. Paterson’s Curse is a declared plant (noxious weed) and is a target for biological control.
Paterson’s curse is an annual plant native to the Mediterranean region. It is a classic ‘garden thug’ having been introduced via mail order gardening catalogues in the 1840s, then rapidly invading agricultural land.