Puccoon is a perennial flower of some attractive nature with multiple leafy stems arising 20-60 cm high from a woody base. The stems are lax or almost prostrate to ascending. The leaves are all found on the stiffly haired stems, the lower ones largely reduced with the upper leaves numerous with sessile bases. Individual leaves are lanceolate to linear in shape and range from 3-10 cm long and 2-10 mm wide.
The flowers are clustered among leafy bracts in the upper axils. The flowers are 5-lobed with a light greenish-yellow coloration. The flowers are 8-13 mm long with the tube 4-6 mm long and the limb 7-13 mm wide. The corolla tube is glandular within the tip. Each flower produces 4 cone-shaped, hard and stony nutlets or seeds.
The genus name Lithospermum means stony (Litho-) seed (-sperm) in reference to the stony seeds or nutlets.
Puccoon was widely used as medicine by the Plains Indians. The roots were eaten when cooked and also were a remedy for respiratory ailments.
Puccoon may be found in a variety of open, fairly dry places in the foothills and grasslands to moderate elevations in the mountains. It may be found in sandy, gravelly and deep loam soils.
Puccoon may be found from southern British Columbia south to the east of the Cascades to northern California and thence east to southern Colorado. It is occasionally found in drier open places in the Puget trough.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between the elevations of 200'-3000' from Dog Mt. east to the eastern end of the Gorge.
-The photo at left shows a close-up of the flower cluster of puccoon as seen at Horsethief Butte in the Columbia River Gorge..........April 9, 2009. The photo at left shows a cluster of leafy stems arising from the ground on southeast-facing slopes of Sevenmile Hill, several miles northwest of The Dalles, Oregon.........March 8, 2015..
-Puccoon blooming amongst Columbia Gorge lupines and balsamroots above Devils Gap, Columbia Hills State Park..........April 14, 2013.
A close-up of the tooth-like seeds of puccoon as seen from the northwest corner of the Columbia Hills State Park........October 18, 2015.
Photographed on Washington Department of Natural Resources land along Horseshoe Bend Road, mid-Klickitat River Gorge.........May 8, 2011.
-A close-up of an early-blooming example of puccoon as seen (left) on slopes above Klickitat Springs in the middle Klickitat River drainage........April 12, 2011. The photo at right shows a close-up of the flowers of puccoon as seen high in the Collumbia Hills NAP..........March 25, 2016.
-Puccoon blooming high in the northwestern corner of the Columbia Hills State Park........April 12, 2014.
-Early blooming puccoon as seen high in the northwestern corner of the Columbia Hills State Park.........March 24, 2014.
-Puccoon beginning to bloom in the northwest corner of the Columbia Hills State Park........April 16, 2015.
-Puccoon in bloom and being pollinated by a domestic honeybee as seen atop the Mill Creek Ridge Preserve, Columbia Land Trust lands southwest of The Dalles, OR.......April 22, 2018.
-Puccoon as seen at left along the Memaloose Trail east of Mosier, Oregon........March 27, 2015. The photo at right shows blooming puccoon at the Mill Creek Ridge Preserve, a Columbia Land Trust property........April 28, 2019.
-Puccoon in bloom along the Memaloose Trail on Castilleja Hill, Columbia River Gorge........April 21, 2017.
-Puccoon beginning to bloom atop Mill Creek Ridge, Wasco County, WA......March 17, 2020.