Cynoglossum officinale   Hound's-tongue C DD N

Cynoglossum officinale Cynoglossum officinale

This is plants is quite uncommon in central and northern Scotland and prefers sandy soils particularly near the coast. The flowers are quite small in comparison with the size of the plant and such a deep maroon colour that on a bright sunny day the camera is often unable to capture any of the detail inside the petals. The colour of the flowers and shape is similar to Scrophularia auriculata (Water Figwort) but hound's Tongue is a member of the Boraginaceae family. The obvious diagnostics are that it has four quartered bristly seeds and that the plant smells of mice. Indeed one of the old English names for this plant was Rats and Mice.

The current English name comes from the belief that this plant could stop dogs barking at you. A leaf of Cynoglossum officinale has to be put inside the shoe under each foot and the toe and then this will "tie the tongues of hounds".

Near The Needles lighthouse Isle of Wight 4th June 2006

Added on on October 20th 2005, updated on 10th December 2008, updated 21st March 2010

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