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Western Gromwell Lithospermum ruderale


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Western Gromwell
credit: JW Stockert, National Park Service

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Alternate name: Columbian Puccoon, Puccoon

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage view all from this family

Description Clusters of erect, unbranched, leafy stems produce, in the upper axils, clusters of 5-lobed light yellow flowers.
Habit: native perennial herb; stout, hairy, yellow-green stems grow from a taproot and woody caudex; clump-forming.
Height: 8-24 in (20-60 cm)
Leaf: lance-shaped to linear, 1-4 in (3-10 cm) long or more, 0.5 in (1 cm) wide or more.
Flower: trumpet, pale yellow to pale green, with 5 oblong lobes, to 1/2 in (1 cm) long and tall; held in loose terminal ball punctuated by linear leaves.
Fruit: shiny brown-gray, divided into 1-4 nutlets; 0.125-0.25 in (3-6 mm) long.

Flower April to June.

Habitat Open dry places: plains, hillsides; sagebrush, juniper, or pine shrub-steppes.

Range Western North America: British Columbia, south to northeast California, east to western Colorado, north to Saskatchewan.

Discussion Also known as wayside gromwell, western stoneseed, pucoon, Columbian puccoon, lemonweed. Puccoon is an Algonquian word for plants that yield dye, which alludes to the purple dye extracted from the roots.