The foliage and stems of local members of Boraginaceae have bristly hairs. The flower clusters are often one sided on the stem and at least slightly coiled, and at times during development resemble the scroll of a violin.
Flowers have 5 petals and 5 lobed calyx and corolla, with 5 stamens alternate to the corolla lobes.Fruit developes in a 4 lobed chamber that separates into individual dry, 1-seeded nutlets.
The Old World species have long been used as kitchen flavorings, herbal remedies, and sources of dyes. Many cultivated species are popular in gardens (such as Forget-Me-Nots, Borage and Comfrey), so a certain number of escapees may be seen around the urban fringes of Montara Mountain.
There are at least two known native species in residence on the mountain:
as well as the non-native Myosotis sylvatica (Forget-Me-Not)
Flowers: 5 petals, blue with a inner circle of white 'teeth', in loose clusters at top of stem.
Blooms: February - April
Leaves: Dark green and hairy, 4 - 6 inches long, broadly oval with a petioled (stemmed) base - mostly at base and lower part of plant.
Fruit/Seeds: Small berry-like seed clusters, green ripening to red/purple.
Location: Shady moist trails; Brooks falls overlook trail and Montara Mountain Trail in San Pedro Valley County Park.
Status: Native - Fairly common.
Further description & Comment: 1 - 3 ft tall. Hound's Tongue is related to the widely-spred garden escapee Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sylvaticia), which is common along trailsides at lower elevations. Forget-Me-Not is lower growing, has a coiled flower raceme, and round-tipped leaves.
Along the Brooks Falls Overlook trail. Note the wide but pointed leaves and flower clusters that are not coiled.
Photo by Bill and Barbara VanderWerf
Ripening fruit in early May.
Flowers: White to bluish, tiny flowers in long curved sprays. Centers fading to Green or Purple.
Blooms: March - May
Leaves: Blue-Green, fleshy, long and curving back.
Location: "Drying flood plains"
Status: Native - Not common.
Further description & Comment: Low, matlike - fleshy stems are smooth and covered with a bluish wax.
Note the small clusters of flowers and the rosette-like sets of leaves at the end of stems, compared with the larger, more oval leaves back toward the base. 560x420 JPEG - 40K
A Close-up of the flowers - you can get a sense of the curvature of the cluster as it developes, Note the variation of color (from Green to Purple) in the flower interior as the flower ages.
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