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Noxious Weeds

Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale L. )

Borage family: Boraginaceae
Photo of Houndstongue

Houndstongue is a biennial herb native to Europe and Asia. The mature plant is covered with soft, matted hairs (villous-tomentose). Its stems are stout, 16 to 24 inches (40 to 60 cm) tall, and are leafy from the base to the top. It begins growing in late spring, flowers in May through July, and matures in late summer.
The leaves grow without teeth or lobes and are borne alternately on the stem. The lower leaves are oblong to lance shaped with slender stalks (petioles). They are 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long and 4/5 to 2 3/4 inches (2 to 7 cm) wide. The upper leaves are lance-shaped, pointed at the tip, and without stalks; the uppermost clasp the stem. The roundish seed leaves (cotyledons) are 1 1/4 times as long as they are broad, and are light green, with a shallow notch at their tip. They are hairless, and have a very short stalk or no stalk. 
Flower stalks are numerous, simple or branched and elongated at maturity. Each bears many flowers along its length on short 1/5 to 1/2 inch (5 to 12 mm) stalks. The lobes on the outer green part of the flower (calyx) are egg shaped or lance shaped, blunt or sharp pointed, 1/5 to 1/4 inch (5 to 6 mm) long when in fruit. The flower (corolla) is reddish purple, with united petals. The broad tube of the flower is 1/8 to 1/5 inch (3-5 mm) long and the flower (limb) is 1/4 to 1/3 inch (6 to 8 mm) broad.
The seed is a deeply four-lobed prickly nutlet. The nutlets are borne on a pyramid-shaped receptacle. They are approximately 1/4 inch (6 mm) tall, flattened on top and have a distinct margin. They split away from the receptacle at maturity but remain attached to the beaklike style. They cling to passing animals and are scattered across the landscape.
It is widely distributed over central and eastern North America, northern California and in Oregon. It is an undesirable weed in irrigated and dryland pastures, fencerows, roadsides, and waste areas where it is found.
  • The seed is a deeply four-lobed prickly nutlet.
Distribution:Related to agricultural seetings in Inyo and Mono Counties.