Also known as dog-tooth violet, erythronium, and snake leaf, adder’s tongue is an herb that is sacred to serpent goddesses. This perennial plant grows to one foot tall and has two mottled pale green leaves with purple or brown spots, as well as a drooping, lily-like yellow flower with curled-back petals.
The flower appears from the central stem in April or May, partially closes at night, and diminishes in the heat of summer. The narrow spike which resembles a serpent’s tongue is the plant’s namesake. This plant can be found in moist woods or open areas, or in the rich soil of damp meadows. It flourishes from Nova Scotia to Georgia, and from Arkansas to Minnesota.
Adder’s tongue can be used to treat scrofula and other skin problems if made into a poultice and applied to the skin, along with an infusion that can be mixed with cider for more palatable taste. With regards to witchcraft, adder’s tongue can be used to halt gossip and slander or to promote healing. It is used in lunar magick, healing magick, dream magick, and divination.
In flower language, an adder’s tongue flower symbolizes jealousy.