Background: Houndstongue is a native of Europe. It thrives in disturbed soils along roadsides, trails, in pastures, and rangelands. Because of the bur-like seed, it spreads widely along travel corridors as a passenger on clothing or animal fur. It is toxic to livestock.
Other common names: Gypsyflower
Description: Houndstongue is a one to four foot tall biennial. Basal leaves are about three inches wide with a hairy surface. Upper leaves are narrower, about one inch wide and have a curled appearance, and partially clasp the stem. Small reddish purple flowers form in the upper portions of the plant along stems borne in leaf axils. Each flower produces four green bur-like fruits that turn brown as they mature. Bloom is in early summer.
Control: Biocontrol is not available. Herbicides can offer good to excellent control when applied between the rosette and bloom stages. Digging before seed development can offer good control. Contact your local state or county weed specialist for specific updated information.