This is the loveliest flower in my Food Forest. It is less than a foot tall but has a yellow ruffled looking flower that reminds me of fairy skirts in old Disney movies.
It is part of the large Borage family and Lithospermum themselves are nearly world wide, but their center is said to be here in the Southwest US. They are also called stoneseeds for obvious reasons and their seeds make beads for jewelry.
The large spring flowers are mostly infertile and the plant has smaller flowers in summer that stay closed and are self fertile. There is speculation about why plants shift to self-fertilization, but it is all guessing at this point.
The roots are edible but I cannot bring myself to dig them up to eat them. I would have to be very hungry to kill this perennial flower for its taproot. Or I would have to have a lot more of them. There is a big field of them about two miles from me, but that is the only place I’ve seen them in abundance. I have a dozen or two, probably because they won’t grow in shade and full sun is not abundant in my Food Forest.
Puccoon is a medicinal used for centuries for birth control and is being studied for that reason. It has other medicinal uses as well. One of its Asian cousins is used to treat HIV-1. Powerful family!
I have never used Puccoon, but enjoy its lovely face. Again, I like to keep the range of medicinal plants, but focus more on edibles at this time.