Houndstongue is a member of the Borage family. It is a biennial that was introduced from Europe. It reproduces by seeds and appears as a leafy rosette in its first year. The stem is erect, stout, heavy, 1½ to three feet high, usually branched above. The leaves are alternate. The basal and lower ones are broad, and oblong to lance-shaped. The upper leaves are narrower and pointed, almost clasping. The flowers are terminal and reddish purple in color. The fruit consists of four nutlets (seeds), each about 1/3 inch long, with the outer surface covered with short, barbed prickles. Nutlets break apart at maturity and are rapidly scattered by animals. Houndstongue grows on ranges, pastures, and roadsides and is toxic to grazing animals, even in bailed hay. The weed contains alkaloids that cause liver cells to stop reproducing. The clinging seeds significantly reduce the value of wool.
Houndstongue is a weed that can be controlled mechanically. Find out more here