hoary puccoon

(Lithospermum canescens)

Conservation Status
hoary puccoon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Hoary puccoon is a 4 to 18 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 5 stems from a thick, red taproot.

The stems are erect and usually unbranched, though sometimes branched near the top. They are densely covered with soft, ascending to spreading, sometimes somewhat tangled hairs.

The leaves are alternate, stalkless, relatively thick, lance-shaped to narrowly oblong, ¾ to 2 long, and to ½ wide. There are usually less than 25 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 and are densely covered with short, fine, loosely ascending to appressed hairs. There are small, elevated, blister-like elevations (pustules) at the base of the hairs on the leaves, though this may not be apparent without a hand lens. The margins are untoothed and have a fringe of soft hairs.

The inflorescence is usually 1 to 3 leafy, branched, flower clusters at the end of the stem. Occasionally a plant will produce 1 or 2 additional flowering branches after the first flowering branches have gone to seed. 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 1 to 4 long.

The flowers are to ½ wide and funnel-shaped. The sepals are fused at the base into a short, cup-like structure (calyx) then separated into 5 linear, flat, to ¼ long lobes. The 5 petals are orange to yellow. They are fused at the base into a ¼ to long floral tube, then separated into 5 spreading, to wide lobes. The lobes are not fringed. There are 5 stamens. The flowers are subtended by bracts that are much longer than the calyx. The flowers have a sweet scent. According to most sources, including Yatskievych & Steyermark and Gleason & Cronquist, there are no closed, self-fertilizing (cleistogamous) flowers. A recent (2012) ongoing study suggests that this may not always be the case.

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

 
     
 

Height

 
 

4 to 18

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

Orange to light golden yellow

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum) leaves are roughly hairy, not densely, softly hairy. The hairs on the stem and leaves are pustule-based, though this may not be apparent without a hand lens. The 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. The fruit is white, not cream-colored.

Hairy puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense var. croceum) often rises on 12 or more stems. The stems are leafier. The leaves are roughly hairy, not densely, softly hairy. The hairs on the stem and leaves are pustule-based, though this may not be apparent without a hand lens. The inflorescence eventually becomes much longer, 2 to 10 long. The flowers are larger, ½ to 1 wide. The calyx lobes are longer, ¼ to ½ long when the plant is in full flower. The floral tube is longer, 9 16 to 1 long. The fruit is white, not cream-colored.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, open woods, roadsides. Seldom in sandy soil.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

April to June

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28.

 
  1/5/2012      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Boraginales  
 

Family

Boraginaceae (borage)  
  Subfamily Boraginoideae  
  Tribe Lithospermeae  
 

Genus

Lithospermum (stoneseeds, puccoons, and gromwells)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Batschia canescens

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

hoary gromwell

hoary puccoon

Indian paint

Indian-paint

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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Luciearl

 
 

Many of these growing in the nearby ditch. Sunny and dry soil.

 
    hoary puccoon   hoary puccoon  
 

Kirk Nelson

 
    hoary puccoon   hoary puccoon  
           
 
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    hoary puccoon   hoary puccoon  
           
 

Inflorescence

 
    hoary puccoon   hoary puccoon  
           
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Floral Tube

 
    hoary puccoon   hoary puccoon  
           

 

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Other Videos
 
  Hoary Puccoon
Wapello County Conservation Board - Iowa
 
   
 
About

Nov 2, 202

The Hoary Puccoon prefers dry soils, and is found at the Eddyville Sand Prairie. A short prairie plant, which adds beautiful color the the summer prairie.

 
  Hoary Puccoon (Lithospermum canescens)
Biophile
 
   
 
About

May 4, 2021

A video describing Hoary Puccoon, Lithospermum canescens and its heterostyly. Pin and Thrum forms are shown and described.

 
  Rocky Woods & Seepy Meadows: Hoary Puccoon
Sanders' Wildflowers
 
   
 
About

Mar 6, 2020

Enjoy a collection of educational videos by Dr. Roger Sanders about the spring wildflowers found throughout the southern Appalachians. These videos are a production of Core Academy of Science, a christian nonprofit based out of Dayton, TN.

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Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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  Luciearl
5/20/2021

Location: Cass County

Many of these growing in the nearby ditch. Sunny and dry soil.

hoary puccoon

 
  Kirk Nelson
5/30/2015

Location: Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

hoary puccoon

 
  Crystal Boyd
6/2/2013

Location: Pine Bend Bluffs SNA

 

 
           
 
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