The flowers are an absolute magnet for bees. Annual or biennial, with reddish-purple flowers blooming between May and September.
Hound's tongue has a long history of use as a medicinal herb, though it is rarely used in modern herbalism.
Prefers sandy, gravelly and basic soils. Grows well in an ordinary well-drained soil. Succeeds in full sun or partial shade.
Sow in situ in early summer. The seed can be sown in spring or autumn, a period of cold stratification improves germination.
Although the young leaves are said to be edible, raw or cooked, the plant is said to be slightly poisonous. There are no reported cases of human poisoning but there are some cases of cattle being poisoned. The plant has a disagreeable odour and taste so is seldom eaten by animals.
Contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in sensitive people