Columbian puccoon

Common Name
Columbian puccoon
Scientific Name
Lithospermum ruderale
Scientific Pronunciation
lith-oh-SPER-mum roo-der-AY-lee
Plant Family
Plant Origin
Plant Type
Typical Bloom (varies by elevation)
Additional Common Names
Western stoneseed, western gromwell

Puccoon is common in the shrub-steppe, and is easily identified by a cluster of multiple long, leafy stems, eight inches to two feet tall, springing up from a woody tap root. The small, pale yellow-to greenish-white flowers of puccoon appear in late spring, partially hidden among the numerous leaves near the stem tip. The petals are fused at the base into a narrow tube with five spreading lobes that resemble a star. Stems are yellow-green and hairy, with narrow leaves, one to four inches long, all along the length. Each flower produces four cone-shaped, hard, bony seeds, or nutlets, only one of which matures into a shiny smooth white nutlet.

Native Americans used the seeds as decorative beads. The roots were a source of a red dye. The plant was also used as a poultice to help calm itching hemorrhoids.