Houndstongue is a tap-rooted biennial that reproduces by a heart-shaped bur seed. The plant has a rosette stage where it has broad leaves rarely over 8 inches tall. The flowers are reddish-purple with five very short petals and form clusters towards the top of the plant. The leaves are broad and the entire plant is covered with soft, white hairs. The plant general ranges in height from 16-48 inches. Seeds turn light brown and stick to clothes and animals.
Houndstongue is toxic to animals when consumed in enough quantity as it contains an alkaloid that stops liver cells from reproducing. The dried seeds are commonly found stuck to your socks or in your pets’ fur; to help decrease spread, please throw the seeds in the trash instead of on the ground.
In Teton County this plant invades multiple habitats by transporting itself on the fur of migrating wildlife. It can be found in most soil types and is extremely invasive.
For help managing infestations,
please call Teton County Weed & Pest District at 733-8419.