What does dog tongue mean in "The Scarlet Ibis"?  

Expert Answers
bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The dog tongue mentioned in "The Scarlet Ibis" has no canine connection. Instead it refers to a plant that is indigenous to Europe and North America, including the area (probably North Carolina) where Doodle lives. A member of the Boraginaceae family, Cynoglossum officinale (also known as dog's tongue, houndstongue, houndstooth, and gypsy flower) is an herb with reddish-purplish blossoms that is believed to have some healing capabilities. In the past, it has been used to treat

  • ulcers
  • coughs
  • piles
  • lung disease
  • distemper
  • venereal disease

It is usually boiled down to an oil or consumed as an herbal tea. It is also considered a dangerous weed usually found in wetland areas.