Cynoglossum officinale (Gypsy Flower)
|Also known as:||Hound's-tongue|
|Life cycle:||biennial, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; along roads, waste areas, fields|
|Bloom season:||May - July|
|Plant height:||1 to 4 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Stalked flowers in racemes that arise from the leaf axils in the upper part of the plant and at the top of the stem; only a few flowers at the tip are open. Flowers are about 1/3 inch across, saucer-shaped with 5 petals fused at the base. Color ranges from dull red to maroon to purple. There are 5 short yellowish stamens surrounded by a fuzzy ring.
Flower stalks and the 5 sepals are gray-green and densely covered in long, white hairs. The racemes are ascending, mostly droop at the end, and elongate as the plant matures with fruit forming below the blooming flowers.
Leaves and stem:
Stem leaves are up to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide with a pointed tip and tapering at the base, long stalked at the base, becoming smaller and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem, with the upper leaves stalkless. The first year is a large basal rosette of long stalked leaves. All leaves are toothless and hairy. Stems are unbranched except for the flower clusters, and densely hairy.
Gypsy Flower is mostly weedy, not readily invading quality habitats, but can form dense colonies and is most commonly found in areas with a good percent of bare ground and disturbed soils, such as empty lots.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?