Houndstongue flower, seed and cured seed

Montana Dept. of Agriculture has stated that currently in Montana, noxious weed infest about 7.6 million acres (Montana’s Noxious Weed Management Plan, 2008). On the Refuge, Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale) plays a significant part in infestation as they grow in dense monotypic stands affecting rangeland, pasture and forest.

Wildlife - Weed Spraying 256 x 192Under the Weed Control Act this plant is prioritized P2B, i.e. this weed is abundant and widespread in most Montana counties. Local weed districts are tasked with this challenge: "Management criteria will require containment and suppression where abundant and widespread, and eradication or containment, prevention and education where less abundant" (Montana's Noxious Weeds, Montana State University Extension, 2010). So the Refuge has been working/consulting with the Ravalli County Weed Control District. 

Wildlife - Weed Trailer 256 x 192The Refuge is employing all five of the recommended management methods: prevention, herbicide, cultivation, hand-pulling and mowing. During the summer the staff has been actively hand-pulling and digging. Perhaps you have seen our trucks stacked high with houndstongue plants. 

Houndstongue cured seedThe best time to "dig" these plants is before they set seed. Thereafter, it is really difficult to handle the plant without having the seeds sticking to you, an example of organic velcro. Each plant can produce up to 2,000 seeds that remain viable for 2-3 years in the soil (NRCS).

The Refuge hosts a "Weed Pull" in mid-May specifically for the public to participate in. It is fun and challenging learning of control methods for this weed species and others.