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Hoary Puccoon for Sale

Hoary Puccoon for Sale

Hoary Puccoon for Sale

Both this and the closely related Hairy Puccoon (L. caroliniense) have not gone unnoticed by the horticulture industry. Unfortunately no one has figured out how to propagate it reliably. The plant's deep, strong root system will not tolerate any kind of transplanting and years of study at the UofM St. Paul revealed that, for reasons unknown, viable seed set is rare.Some plants have symbiotic relationships with fungi, microbes or other stuff in the soil and can't survive without them. Maybe puccoon is like that, they just haven't figured out what that special thing is yet.

Puccoon

I was visiting my parents on County Rd 10 in Sheldon Valley (Houston County, MN) over the weekend. I was exploring the top of one of the hills on their farm & found what I believe are Carolina Puccoon plants. They were near the top of the hill, on the west side, on a dry, steep, slightly shaded, rocky slope. I have never seen these flowers before. Are they common to MN? I also spotted what I believe are Yellow Star Grass. Again, I've never seen either of these flowers before.Hoary puccoon's small, bright orange flowers arise on spirally condensed stalks that uncoil and elongate as more flowers open toward the tip. Many stalks arise from one root system; this plant begins flowering very low to the ground. Flowers are many, from coiled flowering stalks; each flower is tubular, though this is hardly visible, with 5 lobes, orange yellow, rarely pale yellow. Blooms March–June. Leaves are inconspicuous at flowering time, alternate, lanceolate, pointing upward, very hairy. The fruits are small nutlets that are shiny white to yellowish brown.

Oak barrens, which used to cover about 2% of Michigan and 28% of Oakland County, are a type of savanna that typically has low tree cover. The ground cover in oak barrens contains prairie species in open areas and forest species in the shaded areas under widely spaced black and white oaks. Oak barrens are fire-dependent, which means that they need fire to keep them from becoming closed forest. Plants like wild lupine and hoary puccoon depend on fire to maintain their open habitat. Before European settlement, lightning strikes and fire intentionally set by Native Americans maintained oak barrens in this open state. As European settlers moved in, the open oak barrens changed quickly. Farmers plowed many savannas in the Midwest because they had few trees. Settlers also extinguished the frequent, low-intensity fires that the oak barrens needed to survive. Within a few years, trees quickly grew, the canopy closed, and the open oak barrens became forests.The purple spikes of wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) and yellow splashes of hoary puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) are fading in the oak barren remnants along the Paint Creek Trail. Both species flower in May and early June each year, and are toward the end of their flowering periods this year. These plants give us small reminders of the special plants that used to be more widespread in the oak barrens of southern Michigan, but have mostly disappeared. As these plants have disappeared, many of the pollinators (think bees, moths, butterflies, and wasps) that rely on these native plants have declined or disappeared too. (Source: oaklandnaturalareas.com)

 

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