This early-blooming native perennial plant in the borage family supposedly gets its name from the resemblance of its leaf shape to that of a dog’s tongue. Preferring to grow in light dappled shade, hound’s tongue is commonly found growing beneath Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana). Appearing in late February to March, the striking foliage of hound’s tongue is followed by 1′-2′ flowering stalks with bold, blue flowers and white centers that resemble forget-me-nots. The uniquely intense blue flower color, with distinct white center, may have evolved to help pollinators zero in on the pollen, helping aid its own pollination. Hound’s tongue attracts native bees and hummingbirds and is an occasional larval host plant for moths and butterflies, including the hound’s tongue woolly bear. Native plants that grow in dry, shady environments are not easy to find for a garden setting, but hound’s tongue is perfect for such a location. Having a large taproot, hound’s tongue does best with little or no supplemental water, but will tolerate some summer water with good drainage. After flowering and setting seed, hound’s tongue goes completely dormant in the summer, an adaptation for survival during the dry summer months. The seed has evolved hook-like appendages on the seed coat that grab on to and attach to anything nearby, including animals or human socks. This seed dispersal tactic works great and has helped the distribution of hound’s tongue. Extremely deer resistant.
Seed Germination Instructions
30-60 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall to late winter.