Hoary Puccoon
(Hairy Puccoon - Coastal Plain Puccoon)
Lithospermum caroliniense
Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not) Family

Plant is an upright, smooth (secretes a moist substance) perennial. Preferred habitat is dry, rocky pineland woods, sandy roadsides and sandhills. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

Leaves are alternate on the stem, consisting of one whole part, hairy, lance-like, no teeth and no lobes.

Flowers are showy displays of golden coiled clusters of tubular flowers at the end of hairy stems. The entire cluster is bisexual and symmetrical in shape. Calyx is five lobed; corolla is tubular to funnelform and also five lobed. Color is orange to yellow. Flowering occurs in the spring.

Fruit is ovary with two or more seed chambers.

Widespread throughout much of the eastern United States. A close relative is found from Saskatchewan to southern Ontario (C. canescens). This unseemly name is an Indian word meaning “plant that yields colored dye.” Because of its brilliant color the plant is extremely difficult to photograph. Some folks call it orange others will call it golden and the camera lens is trying to find a happy medium between the two over-powering colors.

Roots of the Puccoon were boiled to render a dye; some strains giving a red or purple dye depending on its geographic location. Primarily; however, the area from Texas to Florida and northward along the Atlantic coast will be yellow and often referred to as ‘gromwell’, an old French word (gromil) referring to the hard stone-like seeds. Many herbalists prescribed the seed as a cure for kidney stones because of the shape and texture.

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