Soft Hair Marbleseed - Soft False Gromwell - Virginia Marbleseed
Wild Job's Tears - Virginia False Gromwell
Lithospermum virginianum, var. L. molle
False Gromwell is an upright hairy annual that goes by several Latin names but the accepted name in this area is Lithospermum Virginian or L. molle. In some locations the plant can reach heights of 4 feet or more. The stem and leaf are coarsely hairy. Its preferred habitat is open areas in moderately dry sites - often near bogs. The common plant found in Escambia is loosely hairy with pitted fruit (nutlet).
The leaves are about 1/2 inch wide and about 2 inches long, lance to narrowly egg-shaped, toothless and stalkless, with several deep veins, alternately attached and reduced to bracts in the upper plant. Leaves are bristly hairy, depending on the variety densely covered with hairs, or less densely covered with spreading hairs. The stems are also covered in bristly hairs. Multiple stems arise from a woody root, often branching in the upper plant.
Flowers are white or tinged yellow or green, ½ to ¾ inch long, covered in short hairs, with 5 triangular lobes at the tip that close the mouth of the tube. A long white style projects from the tube like a stinger; the style remains long after the petals wilt away. The calyx holding the flower has 5 narrow lobes; depending on the variety and are about half as long as the floral tube. Flowers occur in the spring.
Fruit is a smooth nutlet that ripens from green to brown to white, somewhat conical to egg-shaped. The nutlet may dull and constricted just above the base forming a collar, or shiny and without a collar.