Lithospermum canescens (Michx.) Lehm. - Hoary Puccoon, Orange Puccoon, Puccoon.

Lithospermum canescens plant

Family - Boraginaceae

Stems - To +30cm tall, multiple from base, branching above, herbaceous, hirsute, from thick taproot.

Lithospermum canescens stem

Leaves - Alternate, linear-oblong, to +5cm long, 1cm broad, entire, sessile, ciliate-margined, pubescent above and below, reduced above.

Lithospermum canescens leaves

Inflorescence - Single flowers from leaf axils. Pedicels short, to 1.5mm long.

Flowers - Corolla salverform, orange, pubescent externally, glabrous internally, 5-lobed. Lobes 3.5mm long and broad, rounded. Expanded portion of corolla 1-1.5cm broad, 1.2cm long. Tube of corolla 7mm long, 2.5mm in diameter. Stamens 5, adnate to corolla tube near its base. Filaments very short. Anthers brown, 1mm long. Ovary 4-parted, glabrous. Style 1, filiform, 5-10mm long, often exserted. Sepals 5, barely connected at base, rounded to acute at the apex, 3-6mm long, 1mm broad, hirsute. Nutlets(ovaries) becoming very hard, shiny, and yellowish with maturity.

Lithospermum canescens calyxCalyx.

Lithospermum canescens flowersFlowers.

Lithospermum canescens fruitsDeveloping fruits.

Flowering - March - June.

Habitat - Prairies, glades, rocky open ground, rocky woods, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - The genus name of the plant means "stone-seeded" and the plant is appropriately named. The nutlets are very hard when mature and resemble small polished stones. Different flowers of the plant can actually have different sized styles (heterostylous), some shorter, some longer. The size I gave is a good average for the plants I have examined. This little plant is very common throughout most of the state and is quite striking.
The plant was used by natives as a leaf tea for fevers and seizures.

Photographs taken off Hwy 106, Shannon County, MO., 5-23-03, and at Danville Conservation Area, Montgomery County, MO., 3-30-04.


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