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Lawn & Garden

Oxtongue is a succulent plant with thick, fleshy, tongue-shaped leaves that are covered with white, wart-like protuberances or white spots or bands. It is usually fan-shaped, but some take on a rosette form with age. The plant blooms in spring and tall flower stems bear tubular yellow, pink or red flowers after a cool winter rest. Despite being a succulent, it is a very low maintenance plant that requires minimal effort to thrive and survive neglect.

Oxtongue Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Gasteria sp.

Common Name: Oxtongue

Light Requirement: Bright Light to Filtered Light

Water Requirement: Drench, Let Dry

Humidity: Average Home

Temperature: House to Cool

Fertilizer: Balanced

Potting Mix: Cactus

Propagation: Division

Decorative Use: Table

Care Rating: Very Easy

Types of House Plants

  • House Plants
  • Full Sun House Plants
  • Bright Light House Plants
  • Filtered Light House Plants
  • Light Shade House Plants
  • Hanging Basket House Plants
  • Floor Plant House Plants
  • Table Plant House Plants
  • Terrarium Plant House Plants
  • Very Easy House Plants
  • Easy House Plants
  • Demanding House Plants
  • Temporary House Plants
  • Flowering House Plants
  • Climbing or Trailing House Plants
  • House Plants with Colorful Foliage
  • Fragrant House Plants

Caring for House Plants

If you want to learn about caring for house plants, check out the following:

  • Lighting House Plants
  • Watering House Plants
  • Humidity for House Plants
  • Temperature for House Plants
  • Fertilizing House Plants
  • Potting House Plants
  • Grooming House Plants
  • Propagating House Plants
  • Decorating with House Plants
  • Preventing Pests and Diseases in House Plants
  • Vacation Care for House Plants
  • Gardening

About the Author: Larry Hodgson is a full-time garden writer from Quebec City, Canada, where he grows over 3,000 species and varieties. He has authored several books, including Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants, in English and French. He was awarded the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.


1. What is oxtongue?

Oxtongue is a plant that belongs to the borage family. It is also known as bugloss or blueweed. The scientific name of this plant is Anchusa officinalis. It is a biennial or perennial plant that can grow up to 1.5 meters in height. Oxtongue is native to Europe, but it has also been introduced to other parts of the world.

2. What are the uses of oxtongue?

Oxtongue has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It was believed to have healing properties for a variety of ailments, such as coughs, sore throats, and fevers. Oxtongue has also been used as a natural dye for fabrics. Additionally, the leaves of oxtongue can be used as a vegetable, and the seeds can be used to make oil.

3. How do you grow oxtongue?

Oxtongue can be grown from seeds or cuttings. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun. The plant can tolerate drought and poor soil conditions. Oxtongue can be grown as an ornamental plant for its bright blue flowers, or it can be grown for its medicinal or culinary uses.

4. Is oxtongue safe to eat?

The leaves of oxtongue are edible and have been used as a vegetable in some cultures. However, the plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. It is recommended to consume oxtongue in moderation and to avoid it if you have liver problems or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

5. What are the health benefits of oxtongue?

Oxtongue has been used for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. It has also been used to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs and bronchitis. Oxtongue has been shown to have antioxidant properties and may help protect against oxidative stress.

6. Can oxtongue be used in skincare?

Oxtongue has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. It has been used topically to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Oxtongue may also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

7. Is oxtongue invasive?

Oxtongue can be invasive in some areas and may outcompete native plants. It is important to check with your local authorities before planting oxtongue to ensure that it is not considered an invasive species in your area.

8. How do you harvest oxtongue?

The leaves of oxtongue can be harvested throughout the growing season. They can be used fresh or dried for later use. The flowers can be harvested when they are fully open and used to make a natural dye. The seeds can be harvested once they have turned brown and can be used to make oil.

9. What are some other names for oxtongue?

Oxtongue is also known as bugloss, blueweed, viper’s bugloss, and common bugloss.

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