Flowery Friday: wooly gromwell.


Today’s flower is an interesting one (and a native, to boot!) – woolly gromwell (Lithospermum ruderale).  According to Plants of Alberta (France Rover, Richard Dickinson), there are only thirty species of the Borage family growing wild in Alberta, of which this is one. In early summer, the west slopes of Nose Hill here in Calgary are dotted with these strange spiky-leaved plants, in full bloom.

What ruderal plants are common where you live?  I always think of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium, syn. Chamerion angustifolium) – in mid-summer, it is simply spectacular in roadside ditches and in mountain meadows.


  1. Lovely example of a ruderal.The common wayside weed rosebay willow herb earnt it’s nickname ‘bombweed’ in the Second World War for popping up in flattened urban sites, I love it both in its wild pink or cultivated white form.

    • I couldn’t find any mention of it in your area, but I did come across a citation for it in the table of contents of a book by Neil L. Jennings called “Central Beauty: Wildflowers and Flowering Shrubs of the Southern Interior of British Columbia.” I don’t think it’s very common in B.C. at all – it would probably be difficult to track down.

      Have an enjoyable weekend!

  2. Very pretty. I imagine even lovelier en masse. When you said ‘borage family’ I immediately thought of Echium vulgare. (Is it borage family?!) It is such a lovely refreshing sight at the roadsides and even in the woods in the height of summer. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s definitely in the borage family! I agree, Echium vulgare has such beautiful flowers – the colour is amazing! Unfortunately, it’s considered an invasive here and has to be destroyed when found. 😦

    • Great examples! Your mention of silverweed really jogged my memory – I got to poring through some of my photos to find out which species I have come across while hiking. We have a few different ones here, both on the Prairies and in the mountains. It turns out that either I haven’t seen that many, or I failed to photograph them. 🙂

  3. What a lovely flower. We don’t have it here, which isn’t surprising, but we do have Lithospermum incisum, commonly called fringed puccoon, and some others. When I looked at a list of Boraginaceae here in Texas, I had to laugh at some of the common names: twining soldierbush and Mexican crinklemat, for example.

    Ruderal is a new word for me, too. Baccharis neglecta, or poverty weed, comes to mind, along with two Euphorbias: snow-on-the-mountain and snow-on-the-prairie.

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