A very bristly-hairy, biennial, herbaceous weed, with a long, black taproot, the erect, spotted stem 1 to 21/2 feet high and finally much branched. Leaves entire, hairy, oblong to linear-lanceolate, 2 to 6 inches long, sessile, with the exception of the basal leaves which are narrowed into long petioles. Flowers showy, bright blue (pinkish in bud, reddish-purple when old), numerous, clustered on short, one-sided, curved spikes which are densely hairy, rolled up at first and straightening out as the flowers expand. Calyx deeply five-parted, corolla about an inch long, funnelform, unequally five-lobed with five reddish stamens inserted on the tube of the corolla, unequal in length and exserted beyond the corolla. Fruit consists of four roughened or wrinkled, one-seeded nutlets, dark brown, fixed by a flat base, sharply angled on the inner face, rounded on the outer, possessing a fancied resemblance to a serpent's head, whence the plant derives one of its common names.
Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum
Plate 161 a. blueweed; vipers bugloss Echium vulgare
Native of Europe, thoroughly naturalized throughout the eastern and middle states in waste places, roadsides and fields, preferring limestone and gravelly or poor soil. It seems to have been introduced into this country as early as 1683, and is now a troublesome weed in pasture lands and old fields.
The Hound's-tongue or Gipsy Flower (Cynoglossum officinale Linnaeus) is another plant of European origin, common as a weed in fields and waste places. Stems erect and leafy, 1 to 3 feet high, pubescent and with a rather strong unpleasant odor. Flowers numerous in simple or branched racemes; corolla reddish purple, about one-third of an inch broad. Fruit pyramidal in shape consisting of four hispid nutlets. It is also called Dog's-tongue, Sheep-lice and Dog Bur.