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Bay Nature magazineApril-June 2013

Turning Blue: Ain’t nothing but a hound’s tongue!

by on March 29, 2013

Thoughts on hound's tongue, by John Muir Laws
Thoughts on hound's tongue, by John Muir Laws

John Muir Laws turns his naturalist’s eye and paintbrushes to the hound’s tongue, one of our early spring bloomers. It becomes a bit of an interrogation — why do the blossoms change color over time? How does it manage to bloom so early in its shady forest home?

Take a closer look at the plants and animals around you. What makes you curious?

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mia james on March 31st, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Check out the Hound’s Tongue in the redwood canyon of Purisima Redwoods Open Space Preserve. They are pink, never turn blue. I saw some on a hike on Saturday, March 30.

Jim Sprague on April 5th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I love this flower. Spring for me in Northern California always begins around the last week of January or the first week of February, when the bright green leaves of the Hound’s tongue begin emerging from the Earth’s soil, in the shade of the Douglas firs, oaks and bay laurels on Mt Tamalpais. Within no time at all, whole hillsides are covered with these plants and their beautiful little blue and white flowers blooming at the end of it’s long stalk. I see a lot of these on the Old Mine Trail and Dip Sea Trail out of Pan Toll Ranger Station. Here they begin blue and then fade with time, to pink, as they lose their color.

Island of the Angels with Jim – 7 April 2014 | Zulu Thoughts on April 16th, 2014 at 12:31 pm

[…] The trail had battalions of Hound’s Tongue plants along the way. They seemed fresh and prolific on the island, the ones we’ve been observing on the other hikes are more at the end of their bloom. Our favorite Lilian McHoul writes in FLOWERS OF MARIN that they are from the borage family, Cynoglossum grande is based on the Greek kuno for dog and gloss meaning tongue. Remember that great word glossolalia, speaking in tongues. “The plant has erect stems one to three feet tall; the leaves mostly basal are long and ovate, slightly hairy on the lower surface. The flowers are dark or light blue resembling our common Forget-Me-Not shape; the tube is usually purple.” http://xasauantoday.com/2012/02/25/pacific-hounds-tongue/ http://baynature.org/articles/turning-blue-aint-nothing-but-a-hounds-tongue/ […]

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