Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hoary Puccoon - Lithospermum canescens   (Michaux) Lehmann
Members of Lithospermum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Boraginaceae
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Author(Michaux) Lehmann
DistributionLimited only to two counties -- Granville and Durham -- in the northeastern Piedmont.

This is a Midwestern species, though it ranges east to NY and northern GA, and west to ND and OK. NC lies along the southeastern edge of the range.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon in its tiny NC range, where it is limited to high pH soil over mafic rocks such as diabase and gabbro. The reason the species is ranked as S2 instead of S1 is that the NCNHP has records for 18 sites, of which nearly all are still believed to be extant, and a decent number are located on conservation lands. It is a State Threatened species.
HabitatThis species has a very restricted habitat in NC -- dry open woods, margins, and clearings over high pH (mostly Iredell and Picture) soils. It is a characteristic species of mafic glades and barrens, growing with a suite of other rare "prairie plants" such as Silphium terebinthinaceum.
See also Habitat Account for Basic Barrens and Glades
PhenologyBlooms from April to early May, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a short herb, usually with a simple stem, growing only to about 8-9" tall on average. It has numerous, alternate, ascending elliptical leaves, about 1.5" long and 1/2" wide, quite hairy overall. At the top of the stem are the several short flower clusters, generally flat-topped in appearance. Each flower is a rich orange-yellow color, containing 5 rounded lobes, and with a spread about 1/2" across. These flowers are very striking at a distance owing to the nearly orange color, as there are no other spring-blooming flowers in its glade habitat with that distinctive color.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2 *
Global RankG5
State StatusT
US Status
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