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
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.
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.