by Stephen Mifsud
   12 Apr 2021      ()
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Cynoglossum creticum   (Blue Hound's Tongue)

Cynoglossum creticum   (BORAGINACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Profile Date Nov-2006 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Nov-2006) Cynoglossum creticum retrieved from on 2021-Apr-12

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Cynoglossum creticum Miller
Published in Gard. Dict. ed. 8, no. 3 (1768)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

No Main Synonyms
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Boraginaceae Juss. (The Borage Family)
16 species from the Boraginaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Blue Hound's Tongue

Maltese name(s) :

Ilsien il-Kelb

Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common     Frequent     Scarce     Rare     Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: HEMICRYPTOPHYTE (prostate plants with flowers close to the ground)
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :


Colour of Flowers:

Blue or Violet

Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Open, usually dry habitats.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Disturbed areas and wasteland especially near arable areas. Also commonly found in dry areas besides valleys.

Botanical Description:

Biennial. Stems (20-)30-60 cm, hirsute to tomentose. Cauline leaves oblong to lanceolate, shortly petiolate to amplexicaul, densely hairy on both surfaces. Cymes ebracteate. Calyx-lobes 6-8 mm, oblong, hirsute. Corolla 7-9 mm, deep blue, with distinct reticulate venation; tube broadly infundibuliform; limb about as long as tube, divided to c. ½ , the lobes glabrous. Stamens inserted in lower part of tube. Nutlets 5-7 mm in diameter, ovoid, without a distinct border; external face convex, densely and unequally glochidiate.

Chromosome number:


Distributional range:

S. Europe, extending northwards to N.C. France.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):

Albania, the Azores, the Balaeric Islands, Bulgaria, Corse, Crete, France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Greece, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Italy (excl. Sicily and Sardignia), ex-Jugoslavia, Portugal, Doubtful in Romania, Russia and former USSR, Sardinia, Sicily and/or Malta, Turkey (European part)

Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

AE Ag Al Ar Az(G L M P S T) Bl(I M N) Bu Ca(C G P T) Co Cr Ct Cy Ga Gr He Hs(S) Ir It LS Lu Ma Md(M P) Mo Rm Sa Si(M S) Sl Sr Tn Tu(A E) Uk(K)

Images (11 images)
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-0.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-1.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-2.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-3.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-4.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-5.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-6.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-7.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-8.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-9.
   Cynoglossum creticum   -   Image Code: CYGCR-10.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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Wild Plants of Malta & Gozo - Plant: Cynoglossum creticum (Blue Hound's Tongue)

Blue Hound's Tongue

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Visitor hits (Nov/06)


Species name:

Cynoglossum creticum   Mill.


Philip Miller
   England, 1691-1771

Common name:

Blue Hound's Tongue

Maltese name:

Ilsien il-Kelb

Plant Family:

Boraginaceae   (Borage Family)

Name Derivation:

Cynoglossum = Greek for "dog's tongue" from kynos, "dog," and glossa, "a tongue" (Greek);
creticum = Related to Crete, eg: first described from Crete or of Cretan origin (Latin).


Cynoglossum pictum, Cynoglossum atlanticum, Cynoglossum siculum

Plant Description

Life Cycle:



Disturbed areas and wasteland especially near arable areas. Also commonly found in dry areas beside valleys.

Source in Malta:

Uncommon or locally frequent. Examples include Wied Babu, Wied Incita, Wied Qirda and Buskett. Also reported from Gozo (Mgarr, Ta' Cenc and Xlendi).

Plant Height:


Flowering Time:


A herbaceous, medium-tall, multi-flowering plant that usually has a 2-years life time. Stems are green, erect, moderately branched (mostly at flowering part) and covered by stiff, bristly hairs.

The soft and hairy leaves are oblong to lance-shaped with an entire, untoothed margin. Tip is rounded whereas the base is amplexicual, that is, clasping the stem. Basal leaves can lack the stem clasping feature and instead have a short petiole (=subsessile). Most of the leaves are found pointing up except the basal ones which tend to arc down. Another foliar feature is that most of the lamina is wavy. Pinnate venation is well visible in the dark green leaves which can grow up to 20cm long by 3cm wide.

The glabrous flowers lack bracts and are born in long scorpoid racemes (tips are coiled as a scorpion tail). The calyx is composed of 5 oblong and hairy sepals, actinomorphic and 6-8mm long. The corolla consists of what looks like to be 5 rounded petals that are fused at their base. Actually these are external lobes of a funnel-shaped, single corolla tube. Flowers are initially purple-red in buds and when just blossomed and they rapidly change into bluish colour after they open up. For this reason one may see purple and blue flowers on the same flower raceme. What makes the corolla attractive is the deep colour of the net-like veins running along the paler colours of the corolla, which finely branch at the tips of the corolla lobes. The corolla is further decorated by 5 rounded, elevated, deep purple, fluffy structures encircling the central mouth of the tube; these are neither stamen nor stigmas.

The reproductive organs are actually small and non showy. Female part consists of a gynobasic ovary situated and mostly hidden at the base of the calyx with a small inconspicuous stigma. The stamens are inserted (joined at) the lower part of the corolla tube and also not much visible externally.

Each flower gives rise to a set of 4 nutlets found well exposed in each calyx. The nutlets are initially green and when fully mature they grow up to 6-7mm wide and becomes brown in colour. They have the shape of flattened pillows but covered with numerous thick, stout, barbed bristles (known as glochidiates). The nutlets (or seeds) of this plant are notorious for sticking to clothes and socks while walking in the countryside, a successful 'animal' seed-dispersion method thanks to the sticky glochidiates.

Links & Further info

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