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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 132. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library
 

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/26/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
 

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9. Lithospermum L. (puccoon)

Plants perennial herbs, with rhizomes or taproots, the rootstock sometimes somewhat woody, often with a purple pigment that leaches out when the tissue is bruised or in pressed specimens. Stems erect or ascending, sometimes from a spreading base, solitary or few to several, unbranched or more commonly few- to several-branched, moderately to densely pubescent with relatively soft and/or stiff, sometimes pustular-based hairs. Leaves alternate and sometimes also basal, but the basal leaves usually withered or absent at flowering, in some species the lower stem leaves reduced and scalelike. Stem leaves sessile or very short-petiolate, the blade variously shaped, the surfaces moderately to densely hairy, in L. latifolium the lateral veins prominent. Inflorescences not paired, of solitary flowers in the axils of the upper leaves or appearing as dense terminal clusters, these sometimes subsequently elongating into ascending, scorpioid, spikelike racemes, the flowers with stalks 1–4 mm long, each subtended by a leaflike bract. Cleistogamous flowers sometimes present, produced after the open flowers, solitary or in small clusters at the tips of short axillary branches. Calyces more or less actinomorphic but 1 or 2 of the lobes usually somewhat longer and/or wider than the others, 5-lobed nearly to the base, the lobes becoming somewhat elongated at fruiting, linear to narrowly triangular or narrowly lanceolate, hairy, persistent and ascending at fruiting. Corollas narrowly funnelform to trumpet-shaped, actinomorphic, yellow to orange or white to greenish white, the tube conspicuous, the throat usually with 5 small, scalelike appendages but these sometimes inconspicuous, hairy on the outer surface, sometimes only in lines. Stamens variously attached in the corolla tube (correlated with short-styled vs. long-styled flowers), the filaments short, the anthers oblong, not or only slightly exserted from the corolla. Ovary deeply 4-lobed, the styles often of different lengths in different plants of the same species (heterostylous), not or rarely slightly exserted from the corolla, often not persistent at fruiting, the stigma capitate, 2-lobed. Fruits dividing into usually 4 nutlets (in some species routinely only 1 or 2 nutlets), these erect to slightly oblique, ovoid with a blunt ventral keel, attached to the relatively flat gynobase at the base, the attachment scar surrounded by a low, collarlike ring, bluntly pointed at the tip, the surface smooth or pitted (mostly near the keel), white to ivory-colored or pale yellowish brown, shiny. About 45 species, nearly worldwide except Australia, most diverse in North America.

Eight of the species currently included in Lithospermum exhibit the phenomenon known as heterostyly, in which different plants in a given population produce flowers that are either short-styled or long-styled (Johnston, 1952; Al-Shehbaz, 1991). Correlated with this is usually a difference in the position of the stamens, with short-styled flowers having stamens attached higher in the tube and anthers positioned above the stigma, whereas in long-styled flowers the stamens are attached below the midpoint of the tube and the anthers are positioned below the stigma. Additionally, some species regularly produce cleistogamous flowers from short axillary branches in the leaf axils later in the growing season. Such flowers have small corollas that remain closed over the stamens and ovary and are shed as the fruits mature.

Species of Lithospermum have a long history of medicinal and ceremonial use by various cultures in North America and Asia (Al-Shehbaz, 1991; Moerman, 1998). Various species with roots that produce a purple or red dye have been used to color fabrics, for body decoration, and as food colorants. The common name puccoon apparently was derived from a Native American word for a dye plant. Nowadays, species of Lithospermum mainly are cultivated as garden ornamentals.

 

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1 1. Leaf blades lanceolate to narrowly ovate; flowers solitary in the axils of the upper leaves; corollas white to greenish white, the tube 35 mm long, about as long as the calyx lobes ... 4. L. LATIFOLIUM

Lithospermum latifolium
2 1. Leaf blades (except those of the reduced, scalelike lower leaves) linear to narrowly oblong or narrowly lanceolate; flowers crowded into dense terminal clusters or spikelike racemes; corolla yellow or orange, the tube 830 mm long, surpassing the calyx lobes

3 2. Corollas with the tube 1530 mm long, the lobes unevenly toothed to nearly fringed along the margin and often also somewhat corrugated ... 3. L. INCISUM

Lithospermum incisum
4 2. Corollas with the tube 715 mm long, the lobes entire

5 3. Leaves densely and relatively softly pubescent with mostly nonpustular-based hairs; calyx lobes 36 mm long at flowering; corollas 1218 mm long; nutlets 2.53.0 mm long, pale yellowish brown ... 1. L. CANESCENS

Lithospermum canescens
6 3. Leaves moderately to densely and roughly pubescent with stiff, pustular-based hairs; calyx lobes 712 mm long at flowering; corollas 1425 mm long; nutlets 34 mm long, white to ivory-colored ... 2. L. CAROLINIENSE Lithospermum caroliniense
 
 
 
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