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Hound's tongue
Photo Credit: Nicole Kimmel, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry

Common Name: Hound's-Tongue

Scientific Name: Cynoglossum officinale

Habitat: disturbed areas, grassland, grassland dry, grassland wet, roadsides, farmland

Provincial Designation: Noxious

Noxious weeds are plant species that are designated as "noxious weeds" in the Alberta weed regulation. Noxious weeds must be controlled, meaning their growth or spread needs to be prevented.


Hound's-tongue is native to Eurasia and arrived in North America as a contaminant in crop seed. It has been used as a medicinal herb. The first herbarium specimen was collected in Ontario in 1859.

Legislated Because

Fresh or dried parts of this plant contain a toxic alkaloid that causes irreversible liver damage in livestock. The hooked seeds attach themselves to animal fur and can cause eye irritation.


Hound's-tongue's petals are united and form a funnel-shaped flower with five lobes. The flowers are deep purple to almost red in color, 5-10 mm wide, and are partially covered by hairy green sepals.

The leaves are covered with hairs, lance-shaped or elliptic and have smooth edges.

The fruits consist of four distinctive nutlets that are covered in prickles. Hound's-tongue grows several branches and reaches 40-80 cm in height.

Learn more about this species:

SeeFact Sheets - Alberta Invasive Species Council

For More Information

Weed Management


In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311


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