Clumps of hound's tongue are blooming along our pasture fence this week and may continue to flower through much of the summer. Yet another Eurasian species that was introduced to North America, the plant is now found across most of the U.S. and Canada.
Preferring sandy soil and full-sun exposure, this wildflower is drought tolerant. Its small red flowers, which hang from drooping stems, face downward, making them rather inconspicuous. Nevertheless, they manage to attract hordes of bees and butterflies, ensuring propagation once the numerous prickly seeds are released.
Despite a long list of "medicinal" uses for this plant, it is toxic to livestock if consumed in large quantities. For this reason, and due to its prolific nature, hound's tongue is classified as a noxious weed in many of the Western States, Colorado included. But we'll let it stay on the farm, especially for the bees and butterflies that relish its nectar.