Some plant observers and plant enthusiasts know it as American gromwell or the American stoneseed; others know it by its Latin name: Lithospermum latifolium.
Either way, it’s a borage-type species of plant which is found generally in the Midwestern United States – Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois etc – although it has been observed in the forests of the eastern U.S. and other timbered areas.
It has one-quarter to one-third inch pales cream to yellow flowers with have five-petaled flowers arrange in a leaf axis. It like part shade, all shade, rich wooded areas and thickets. It grows to anywhere from 16 to 30 inches in height.
Also known as the broadleaved puccoon or broadleaved gromwell, it prefers shaded river banks, borders of forests, thickets and the like. It’s often over-looked and not generally collected or sought after, but it is out there. It likes damper areas.
And if you catch it at the right time, the flowers are nice, and the seed area a sight to behold. The flowers is replaced by a shiny, hard, white nutlet, generally oval to egg-shaped and 1/8 to 1/6 inch long.
“Almost pearl-shaped” reports one of Madison County resident and outdoors enthusiast Nancy Forrest.
Those who have researched the plant – which has pearl-shaped seeds after flowering, say it has a “sensitivity rating” of about nine on a scale of one to ten. That means it is fairly sensitive.
Forrest, who lives on an 80-acre expanse in north-central/northeast Madison County, says she discovered the plant earlier this year and has been watching it. She excitedly told Madison County Supervisors about her discovery on Tuesday.
Yet another example of the great things people can find, observe, and enjoy in rural areas of Madison County and throughout the Midwest.
She says it was observed on their farm, which has a lot of timber, about half of which are “dilapidated trees.”