A perennial with large basal leaves and a hairy, upright flowering stalk. Flower stalks have a few clasping leaves, with no leafy bracts among the flower branches. Flowers are like small forget-me-nots, washed-out sky blue to greenish white, small tubes ending in 5 rounded lobes, about ½ inch across. Blooms April-June. Leaves mostly basal, elliptical with long petioles, very hairy, soft, to 1 foot long; stem leaves few, clasping the hairy stems. Fruit 4 round nutlets, hairy, depressed on the upper surface, clinging to man and beast.
Similar species: Common hound’s tongue (C. officinale) has purplish-red (not pale or light blue) flowers, leafy bracts at the branch points in the flowering stalks, and narrower leaves overall. It’s a native of Eurasia and occurs along watercourses, in pastures, along roadsides and railroads, and other open, disturbed areas.