Cynoglossum

Cynoglossum is a dicot genus of the Boraginaceae. It is widespread throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. It is comprised of annuals (Cynoglossum amabile) and biennial or monocarpic perennial species (Cynoglossum officinale), as well as long lived herbaceous perennials (Cynoglossum grande). They all have blue, pink, or rarely white open to cup-shaped flowers with five lobes, ovary superior, with nectaries protected by small trichomes. The flowers are born on scorpioid cymes, sometimes more obviously then others. If pollinated, each flower can produce up to five slightly ovate, sometimes prickly seeds that attach to clothing (or fur) in some species. Some species are weedy and can be invasive, being included in noxious weed lists due to prevalence and toxicity to cattle due to toxic alkaloids.

Seeds can be collected and started fairly easily by surface sowing in the Autumn and left in the elements. Germination will normally be in spring when the mature plants are likewise emerging. They can be planted out when the first true leaves appear, like tomatoes. Alternatively, the seeds require cold stratification and can be placed in vermiculite or a similar material in a plastic bag and left if the refrigerator for several weeks before being brought out and pressed into the surface of a prepared seed bed in the light.


Cynoglossum grande, or Pacific Hound's Tongue is a non-invasive herbaceous perennial native to woodland habitats from British Columbia south to California. It begins its vegetative cycle in late Winter, sending up hairy leaves which unfold somewhat like hairy rainbow chard, before sending up a flowering stalk to two feet. The flowers open magenta and turn vivid blue as they age. Five white appendages surround the base of each flower. It grows from a modified rhizomatous taproot that can produce many rosettes from a single root system. It exhibits a marked summer dormancy, quickly retreating into dormancy when the ground dries up in its native summer dry territory.

Pictures below by Travis Owen

 Seeds germinating in late January, 2015, Travis Owen Leaves emerging mid January, 2015, Travis Owen In bud, Travis Owen Flowers, Travis Owen

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Page last modified on February 14, 2015, at 09:34 AM