Cynoglossum officinale (Gypsy Flower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Hound's-tongue
Family:Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life cycle:biennial, short-lived perennial
  • Weedy
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] 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.

[photo of raceme and hairy sepals] 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: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] 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.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is about ½ inch across, 4-sectioned and covered in hooked bristles, each section containing a nutlett.


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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More photos

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?

Posted by: Caleb - Blue Earth county
on: 2014-06-07 12:15:06

I just found one of these growing amid some Dame's Rocket in Riverfront Park in Mankato.

Posted by: randy - St. Paul, MN
on: 2014-07-21 11:48:44

I noticed this in my garden this year. It has attractive little flowers. I pulled it before it went to seed so it wouldn't spread.

Posted by: Marcia - Upper Gunflint Trail
on: 2015-04-27 13:59:16

I found a big gypsy flower bush upland from Loon Lake. I could send a photo.

Posted by: Tanya - Wright County
on: 2016-06-09 11:45:45

I found 1 plant in a pasture in Wright County and took a picture so I could find out what it was. I've never seen it in this area before.

Posted by: Sara Nelson - Theodore Wirth Park
on: 2018-07-19 10:22:45

Found in Theodore Wirth Park in North Minneapolis

Posted by: Kimberly E. - Windom, Cottonwood County
on: 2019-05-30 15:05:12

Found growing in a new native prairie planting one mile east of Windom in Cottonwood County.

Posted by: Sharon - Minneapolis
on: 2020-06-09 12:30:53

Found near a pond along Kasota Avenue between 280 and Elm Street SE.

Posted by: Jacob G - Shetek State Park
on: 2021-06-22 17:16:07

Found a large number of plants all over the Shetek State Park in Murray County.

Posted by: pat - Shoreview
on: 2022-06-04 23:36:39

more plants present this year

Posted by: Mary - Rochester
on: 2023-05-02 19:29:53

Sprouted in my gardens last year in rural Rochester, MN. Let them overwinter. Tempted to let it bolt this 2nd year, but will probably remove now that it has been identified.

Posted by: Eoghan O'Neill - Saint Paul
on: 2023-06-01 08:13:29

Found growing around Como lake shoreline

Posted by: Erin Anderson - Cedar Lake Regional Trail, North Loop, Minneapolis, MN
on: 2024-05-28 11:59:08

Found growing in the margin between the trail and the railroad tracks Northwest of the federal reserve building along the Cedar Lake regional Trail.

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