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American Gromwell is one of the woodland wildflowers that blooms during the spring, but it is often overlooked and many field guides fail to describe it, probably because its flowers are not very showy. American Gromwell resembles Lithospermum officinale (European Gromwell) in its overall appearance. This latter species produces flowers in flat-headed cymes and its leaves are more slender. In contrast, American Gromwell produces individual flowers from the axils of the leaves. Another European species, Buglossoides arvense (Corn Gromwell), produces individual flowers from the axils of the leaves, but these flowers are bright white and its leaves are smaller in size. Corn Gromwell produces nutlets that are brown and wrinkled, rather than smooth and white. Other Lithospermum spp. in Illinois are native prairie plants that also produce flowers in flat-headed cymes. The flowers of these latter species have longer corollas that are a brilliant yellow or orange-yellow.


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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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