Onosmodium bejariense (False Gromwell)
|Also known as:||Soft-hair Marbleseed, Western Marbleseed|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; dry sandy or rocky soil; prairies, open woods, bluffs|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||1 to 4 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.
A 1-sided raceme to 6 inches long of nodding, short-stalked tubular flowers. Flowers are mostly white, ½ to ¾ inch long, with 5 hairy, green to yellow-tinged, triangular lobes at the tip that close the mouth of the tube. A long white style projects from the tube like a large stinger; the style remains long after the petals wilt away.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long, ½ to 1½ inches wide, lance to narrowly egg-shaped, bristly hairy, toothless and stalkless, with several deep veins, alternately attached, reduced to bracts in the upper plant. Stems are covered in spreading, bristly hairs. Multiple stems arise from a woody root, often branching in the upper plant.
False Gromwell is a fairly common species of dry to mesic sandy or gravelly prairies and open woods. It is a fairly distinctive species, but the taxonomy of this species seems to be far from settled; it's been known as a single species with 4 varieties (or subspecies) as well as 4 separate species and, depending on the reference, goes under genus Lithospermum or Onosmodium. As of this writing, the taxonomy most often cited is Onosmodium bejariense with 4 varieties, 2 of which are in Minnesota:
- var. hispidissimum (a.k.a. Lithospermum parviflorum, Onosmodium molle var. hispidissimum, O. hispidissimum, O. carolinianum) can reach heights up to 4 feet, is quite coarsely and densely hairy, has flowers with a shorter tube, calyx lobes about as long as the floral tube, and dull, collared nutlets not more than 3 mm long.
- var. occidentale (a.k.a. L. occidentale, O. molle var. occidentale, O. occidentale), is the more common, a smaller plant, more loosely hairy, has flowers with a longer tube, calyx lobes much shorter than the tube, and shiny, uncollared nutlets more than 3 mm long.
The two varieties not found in Minnesota, var. subsetosum and var. bejariense, both have a limited range in the south-central states, the former a hairless to sparsely hairy plant, the latter with appressed hairs, flowers with long, tapering lobes at the tip and nutlets with a pitted texture.
Please visit our sponsors
Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Lac Qui Parle WMA. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Lac Qui Parle and Dakota counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?