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Hoary Puccoon Lithospermum canescens

 

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Hoary Puccoon
credit: Eric in SF/CCSA

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Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family



Description A hairy, grayish plant with terminal clusters of yellow-orange, tubular flowers; leaves and stems covered with fine hairs, giving plant a soft hoary look.
Habit: native perennial herb; up to 12 erect fuzzy stems; taproot.
Height: 4-18 in (10-45 cm)
Leaf: alternate, pale gray-green, lanceolate, fuzzy, ascending, to 2.5 in (6.5 cm) long, to 0.5 in (12 mm) wide; overlapping at top of plant, becoming shorter and further apart below.
Flower: bright orange to yellow trumpet, 3/4 in (20 mm) wide, 0.3-0.5 in (8-12 mm) wide; with 5 smooth lobes; in terminal linear cluster of 5-20 flowerheads along upper side of often-arching stalk.
Fruit: 1-4 shiny smooth nutlets, pale yellow.


Flower March to June.


Flower April - June


Habitat Dry to mesic sites, lighter soils, often slopes: prairies, open woodlands, roadsides.


Range Eastern and central North America.


Discussion Also known as indian paint. Bark on the thick black taproot of this perennial yields a bright purple pigment which was extensively used for paint and dye by native Americans. Puccoon is a Native American word for a number of plants that yield dyes.

Among the other species in the East, Hairy Puccoon (L. caroliniense) has harsher, longer hairs; Corn Gromwell (L. arvense), originally European but now found throughout the United States, is an annual with inconspicuous white flowers among its upper leaf axils.


Comments This Lithospermum species is usually not found in sands.


Exposure Preference Sun.


Native Distribution New Jersey to Saskatchewan, s. to n.c. North Carolina & Texas


Site Preference Dry to mesic, rich prairies & open woods


Soil Preference Dry to moderately moist, well-drained soils.


 

 

 

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