June 25, 2017
Haven’t you been told not to pick up hitchhikers?
If you have ever found flat, round burrs stuck on your socks or pant legs, then you may have met this member of the Borage family, known as Pacific Hound’s Tongue (Cynoglossum Grande). When we were kids we called these seeds “sticky friends”; you might also know them as beggar’s ticks. Plants in this family are often hairy and coarse with simple alternate leaves that resemble a hound’s tongue.
Pacific Hound's Tongue also known as Western Hound’s Tongue is a non-invasive herbaceous perennial native to woodland habitats of the Pacific West sporting bright blue blooms. It is not to be confused with the invasive species Cynoglossum Officinale that is a noxious weed in the same family.
Plant seeds, in general, have wonderful survival mechanisms, some shoot like tiny missiles while others drill themselves into the ground. The Pacific Hound's Tongue's seeds are among hitchhiker seeds where a casual stroll through the tall grass will leave your socks embedded with rough seeds with Velcro-like tenacity to stick.
Western Hound’s Tongue “is native to western North America from British Columbia to California, where it grows in shady areas in woodland and chaparral. It is a perennial herb producing an erect stem 30 to 90 centimeters tall from a taproot. The leaves are mostly located around the base of the plant, each with an oval blade up to 15 centimeters.... Each five-lobed flower is bright to deep blue with white appendages at the center.” -calscape.org
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