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Lithospermum ruderale - Douglas.
Common Name Western Gromwell, Western Stoneseed
Family Boraginaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Open, fairly dry places from the foothills to moderate elevations[60].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Lithospermum ruderale Western Gromwell, Western Stoneseed

Lithospermum ruderale Western Gromwell, Western Stoneseed
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Lithospermum ruderale is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Seed.
Edible Uses:

The seeds have been used for food[257].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antirheumatic;  Astringent;  Contraceptive;  Diuretic;  Kidney.

An infusion or decoction of the root has been used as a diuretic in the treatment of kidney complaints and also to treat internal haemorrhaging, diarrhoea etc[61, 257]. A poultice of the dried powdered leaves and stems has been used to relieve the pain of rheumatic joints[257]. Some N. American Indian women drank a cold water infusion of the roots daily for six months to ensure permanent sterility[213]. Alcoholic extracts of the plant have been shown to eliminate the oestrus cycle and decrease the weight of the thymus and pituitary glands[213].


Other Uses
Beads;  Dye.

The plant has been used as a dye and body paint[238]. No more details are given in the report, but it is likely that the root is used and the colour is some shade of red[K]. The hard, white, shiny seeds have been used as beads[257].
Cultivation details
Prefers a sunny position in a moderately fertile well-drained soil[200].
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings. Division.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Lithospermum canescensPaint Indian, Hoary puccoon11
Lithospermum carolinienseHairy Puccoon, Carolina puccoon01
Lithospermum erythrorhizonLithospermum03
Lithospermum incisumNarrow-Leaf Gromwell, Narrowleaf stoneseed12
Lithospermum multiflorumManyflowered Gromwell, Manyflowered stoneseed11
Lithospermum officinaleGromwell, European stoneseed12


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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Peggy Hewel   Mon Mar 24 2008
Mein Englisch ist leider sehr schlecht.Vielleicht verstehen Sie mich trotzdem. Können Sie mir ein Buch oder Artikel über Lithospermum ruderale empfehlen, dass in die deutsche Sprache übersetzt wurde und ich etwas über die Pflanze als Verhütungsmittel erfahren kann,den Nebenwirkungen , der Handhabung etc. ?
Birgit   Wed Dec 2 2009
Liebe Peggy Hewel, Auf www.pflanzenwerkstatt.at findest du in etwa zwei Wochen ein neues Buch über pflanzliche Verhütungsmittel! Da wird auch der Steinsame beschrieben... For all English-speaking people: At www.pflanzenwerkstatt.at you can find a newly published book about herbal contraceptives, where also the stoneseeds are described in detail. liebe Grüße, Birgit

Die Pflanzenwerkstatt herbal contraceptives, mycorrhizae, shamanic plants, rennet plants, ...

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Subject : Lithospermum ruderale  

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