Beautiful flowers, resembling true Forget-me-nots, but larger, with velvety, often reddish stems, from one to two feet tall, velvety leaves, and flowers in handsome, loose, somewhat coiling clusters. The corolla is about half an inch across, sky-blue, the most brilliant blue of any flower in Yosemite, with five, white, heart-shaped crests in the throat; the buds pink. This is rather common in the Sierra Nevada at moderate altitudes. L. nervosa, of high altitudes, is similar, but with smaller flowers, the leaves rough-hairy, but green. This has very prickly nutlets, which stick in the wool of sheep and are dreaded by shepherds. L. floribunda, also growing in the mountains of California and Oregon, has similar, small, blue flowers, sometimes pink, and hairy, gray foliage. L. Californica, of the northern Sierra Nevada mountains, has small white flowers.
There are many kinds of Lithospermum, chiefly of the northern hemisphere; with reddish, woody roots, hairy leaves, without leaf-stalks, and flowers crowded in clusters, mixed with leaves and leafy bracts; corolla funnel-form or salver-form, the throat often hairy or crested; stamens with short filaments, not protruding from the throat of the corolla; ovary four-lobed, with a slender style, stigma with a round head or two lobes; nutlets usually white and smooth. The Greek name means "stony seed." Puccoon is the Indian name, and these plants are also called Gromwell, and sometimes Indian Dye-stuff, because the Indians made dye from the roots, which yield a beautiful delicate purple color.
BORAGE FAMILY. Boraginaceae.