Fringed puccoon. Doesn't that name have a wonderful, wild sound to it? Based just on its name, Daniel Boone should have seen this flower. Or at least Fess Parker's version of Daniel Boone! Before I ever saw my first fringed puccoon, my imagination had painted this plant as 2' tall and romantic - a flower that would easily make the transition from wild prairie to gardens.
Reality, though, is not quite the same as imagination! For starters, the individuals I've seen of fringed puccoon max out at about 10" tall. The flowers are pretty and ruffly...but rather small. From a far distance, it would be easy to mistake the buttercup yellow blooms as dandelions, given the short stature of the plants. Truthfully, the somewhat complicated sounding, scientific name of Lithospermum incisum is probably quite appropriate, given the plant's relative invisibility at any time of year except when it's in bloom.
Imagination aside, I was quite excited when I found a couple fringed puccoons in our grasslands during the first year we lived here. I'd never seen one before...and now I lived on land that was home to several!
Most years I see only one or two or three fringed puccoons, mainly in areas that have either been burned or that are mowed low. This year I'm seeing a dozen or more!
Now that's my definition of a tough plant! Despite last summer's extreme heat and drought, the fringed puccoons in my grasslands have multiplied and are blooming prolifically this spring! It's just one more example of why I love native plants. Now I just have to figure how to transplant or seed one or more into my more managed flower beds....