hairy puccoon

(Lithospermum caroliniense var. croceum)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

hairy puccoon

NatureServe

N4? - Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

None
Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry. Prairies, open woods, inland sands. In sandy soil.

Flowering

May to July

     
Flower Color

Orange to light golden yellow

     
Height

6 to 24

     

Identification

This is a 6 to 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 12 or more stems from a stout, woody root.

The stems are erect and usually unbranched, though sometimes branched near the top. They are roughly hairy. The hairs on the stem have small, elevated, blister-like elevations (pustules) at the base.

The leaves are alternate, stalkless, relatively thick, linear to lance-shaped, 1 to 2 long, and to ½ wide. There are usually more than 25 crowded leaves below the inflorescence. They are angled or narrowly rounded at the base and bluntly pointed at the tip. Sometimes there is a minute, sharp point at the tip. There is a single prominent vein and no noticeable lateral veins. The upper and lower surfaces are grayish-green to green and roughly hairy. There are small, elevated, blister-like elevations (pustules) at the base of the hairs on the leaves. The margins are untoothed and have a fringe of soft hairs.

The inflorescence is 1 to 3 leafy, branched, flower clusters at the end of the stem and branches. The flowers at the top bloom first, the lateral flowers progressively later. The clusters are dense at first, elongate as the lateral flowers bloom, eventually becoming coiled and 2 to 10 long.

The flowers are ½ to 1 wide and funnel-shaped. There are no closed, self-fertilizing (cleistogamous) flowers. The sepals are fused at the base into a short, cup-like structure (calyx) then separated into 5 linear, flat, ¼ to ½ long lobes. The 5 petals are orange to yellow. They are fused at the base into a 9 16 to 1 long floral tube, then separated into 5 spreading, to 1 wide lobes. The lobes are not fringed. There are 5 stamens. The flowers are subtended by bracts that are much longer than the calyx. There is no floral scent.

The fruits are 1 to 4 egg-shaped, long, white, smooth, shiny, hard nutlets. Each nutlet contains 1 seed.

 
Similar
Species

Fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incis um) inflorescence does not elongate as the season progresses. The floral tube is much longer, ¾ to 2 long. In the late spring and summer it becomes much branched with cleistogamous flowers in the leaf axils of the new branches.

Hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) rises on 5 or fewer stems. The stems are less leafy. The leaves are densely, softly hairy, not rough. The hairs on the stem and leaves are not pustule-based, though this may not be apparent without a hand lens. The inflorescence, when fully elongated, is much shorter, 1 to 4 long. The flowers are smaller, to ½ wide. The calyx lobes are shorter, to ¼ long when the plant is in full flower. The floral tube is shorter, ¼ to long. The fruit is cream-colored, not white.


Distribution Range Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Boraginaceae (borage)

 

Subfamily:

Boraginoideae

 
Synonyms

Lithospermum caroliniense ssp. croceum

Lithospermum croceum

 
Common
Names

Carolina gromwell

Carolina puccoon

hairy puccoon

puccoon


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

 

axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

cleistogamous

Automatically self-pollinating. Refers to bud-like flowers that do not open but automatically self-pollinate, or to plants with such flowers.

 

linear

Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.

 

pustule

Small, elevated, blister-like elevations, usually at the base of hairs.

 

sepal

An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larger, Lighter, Longer

For a convenient mnemonic to distinguish between hairy puccoon and hoary puccoon in the field, think "Larger, Lighter, Longer." Hairy puccoon has larger petals that are slightly but noticeably lighter in color and have longer floral tubes.

       

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