Species Factsheets

Lithospermum caroliniense

Hispid Gromwell

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State Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
PBS Status: Pennsylvania Endangered (PE)
Federal Status:

Global Rank: G4G5 rank interpretation
State Rank: S1

Did You Know?

A red dye can be created from this species from a dried or pulverized root.

Lithospermum caroliniense


Hispid gromwell (Lithospermum caroliniense) is an herbaceous perennial. It sends up erect stems, 30-60cm, from a stout woody root. The 2.5-7.5cm narrow leaves are rough-hairy. The bright orange-yellow, funnel shaped flowers, up to 2.5cm wide, are produced in terminal leafy racemes, and are very conspicuous.

Rank Justification

Critically imperiled in the nation or state because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state.


This species grows on sandy dry sites of shores and coastal plains of the Great Lakes. In the southern part of its range, the hispid gromwell grows in sandy fields, barrens and roadsides. It can also be found in pine barrens and sandy woods from Virginia to Florida.

Survey Dates

Flowers June - July




Although the species is secure in other parts of its range, hispid gromwell is endangered in Pennsylvania because only one population occurs here, within Presque Isle State Park. Results of studies identify deer browse, not the lack of pollinators, as the principal threat to the plants. Deer, recreational activities, exotic plant invasion and beach erosion control measures have damaged these plants in the past and continue to pose a threat to the populations.


The Bureau of State Parks has classified the locations on Presque Isle where this species can be found as "environmentally sensitive areas." As such, management activities to protect this and other plants species of special concern will be implemented.

Conservation Status Map


Map Legend

NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.


  • NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
  • Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
  • Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
  • 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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