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Green Houndstongue

Cynoglossum montanum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
150 centimetres tall
Fields, hedgerows, mountains, rocky places, woodland.

Red, 5 petals
Maroon red flowers, 6 to 10mm in size. Short-stalked. Not similar in appearance to Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale).
The fruit is a nutlet.
A biennial or short-lived perennial of Beech and Oak woodland. The fresh green leaves are oval and pointed.
Not fragrant.
Other Names:
Green Dog's-tongue, Mountain Hound's-tongue, Woolmat.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cynoglossum montanum, also known as mountain hound's-tongue, is a perennial herb native to western North America. It is found in montane to subalpine regions in the rocky areas, meadows, and open forests. It has blue-purple flowers that bloom in the summer. Like other species of Cynoglossum, C. montanum is toxic to grazing animals, and the plant's seeds can persist in the soil for several years. However, it is not considered as a noxious weed like other species of Cynoglossum and it is not as commonly reported as invasive.


Green Houndstongue, also known as Cynoglossum montanum, is a biennial or perennial herb that belongs to the family Boraginaceae. It is native to Europe, but it can now be found in many parts of North America, including the western United States and Canada. This plant is also known by other common names such as Mountain Hound's-tongue, Green Dog's-tongue, and Woolmat.

Green Houndstongue is a herbaceous plant that can grow up to 1.5 meters in height. It has broad, lance-shaped leaves that are arranged alternately on the stem. The leaves are covered with fine hairs, giving them a rough texture. The plant blooms from June to August, producing clusters of small, bell-shaped, greenish-white flowers. The flowers are followed by small, prickly seed pods that contain numerous seeds.

Green Houndstongue prefers to grow in open woods, meadows, and along roadsides. It is often found in disturbed areas and can become invasive in some regions. This plant is not only visually appealing but also has many medicinal properties that make it a useful plant for traditional herbal medicine.

One of the most notable medicinal properties of Green Houndstongue is its ability to act as a sedative. The plant contains alkaloids that have a calming effect on the nervous system, making it useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, and nervous tension. It is also used to alleviate symptoms of migraines, menstrual cramps, and muscle spasms.

Green Houndstongue is also known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The plant contains several compounds, including rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid, which have been found to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. These properties make Green Houndstongue useful for treating conditions such as arthritis, gout, and rheumatism.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Green Houndstongue has also been used for culinary purposes. The plant has a slightly bitter taste and can be used as a flavoring agent in soups, stews, and salads. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and the plant's seeds can be ground into a powder and used as a substitute for coffee.

Despite its many useful properties, Green Houndstongue can be toxic to livestock, especially horses. The plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage when ingested in large amounts. It is, therefore, important to avoid planting Green Houndstongue in pastures or areas where livestock may graze.

Green Houndstongue has also been used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. The plant contains compounds that help to loosen phlegm and relieve congestion in the respiratory system.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Green Houndstongue has also been used for dyeing. The plant produces a green dye that was traditionally used to color wool and other fabrics.

Green Houndstongue is an important plant for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, as it produces nectar and pollen that these insects feed on. The plant's prickly seed pods also provide a source of food for birds and small mammals.

While Green Houndstongue can be invasive in some regions, it is also an important component of many native ecosystems. The plant's deep taproot helps to prevent erosion and improve soil health by breaking up compacted soil and increasing nutrient availability.

In terms of cultivation, Green Houndstongue prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It can be propagated by seed, but care should be taken to prevent the plant from becoming invasive in areas where it is not native.

Green Houndstongue has also been used for its astringent properties, which make it useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The plant's leaves can be crushed and applied topically to the affected area to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

In some cultures, Green Houndstongue has also been used for its spiritual properties. The plant is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and is used in spiritual practices to promote relaxation and inner peace.

However, it is important to note that the use of Green Houndstongue for medicinal purposes should be done under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider. The plant contains potent compounds that can have adverse effects if used improperly or in large amounts.

In terms of conservation, Green Houndstongue is considered a noxious weed in some regions, and efforts are underway to control its spread. In areas where the plant is not native, it can outcompete native vegetation and disrupt ecosystems.

In conclusion, Green Houndstongue is a fascinating plant with a rich history of medicinal, culinary, and cultural uses. While it can be toxic to livestock and invasive in some regions, it is an important component of many native ecosystems and can be a valuable addition to gardens and landscapes when grown responsibly. Its unique properties make it an important plant for researchers and herbalists alike, and its beauty and usefulness ensure that it will continue to be appreciated for generations to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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