Lithospermum arvense L. - Stoneseed

Lithospermum arvense plant

Family - Boraginaceae

Stems - To +50cm tall, herbaceous, simple to branching above, multiple from taproot, densely antrorse pubescent (hairs appressed), angled.

Lithospermum arvense stemStem.

Leaves - Alternate, sessile, linear-oblong to lanceolate, densely appressed pubescent on both surfaces, with prominent midrib below, entire (margins sometimes revolute), to +4cm long, 1cm broad, apex typically acute but also obtuse, apex often curved.

Lithospermum arvense plant

Inflorescence - Single flowers from leaf axils, typically sessile.

Lithospermum arvense inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla white, funnelform, 7-8mm long, 4mm broad, 5-lobed, exceeding or equaling calyx, appressed pubescent externally. Lobes 1.5mm long, obtuse. Stamens 5, alternating with corolla lobes and borne from sides of corolla tube near base (all at same level). Anthers yellow, -.5mm long, filaments very short (-.1mm). Nutlets 4. Sepals 5, attached near very base, to 6mm long, 1mm broad, linear, densely pubescent. Fruits very hard and dense, ovoid-conic, 3-4mm long.

Lithospermum arvense flower

Lithospermum arvense calyxFruiting calyx.

Lithospermum arvense fruitsFruits.

Flowering - March - July.

Habitat - Waste ground, disturbed sites, open fields, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - This little plant is quite well established and can be found nearly everywhere in the spring and early summer. If left alone the plant get get taller and form fairly large colonies but typically it is mowed or cut and remains quite small.
This is an easy species to identify because of its appressed pubescent stems, small white flowers, and weedy habit.

Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 4-5-03, and in Smith Station, AL., 2-25-06.


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