One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widely distributed plant of the borage family, typically having white or blue flowers which are followed by smooth hard nutlets.
Genus Lithospermum, family Boraginaceae: several species, in particular the common Eurasian L. officinale
- ‘That exquisitely beautiful grass-leaved gromwell which is supposed to be unsuited to our climate, Lithospermum graminifolium, covers a broad ledge, and is not less delightful than the better-known prostratum and the form Heavenly Blue; among profusely bloomed blue-flowered plants there are few greater June treasures than these gromwells.’
- ‘Among the other species are broom groundsel, James' catseye, narrow-leaf gromwell, narrow-leaved penstemon, needle and thread, nodding buckwheat, rubber rabbitbrush, and yucca.’
- ‘Corn gromwell is an annual with erect, slender, single stems or several stems branched from the base.’
- ‘False gromwell is the common name usually applied to plants in this genus because of a perceived similarity in appearance to some of the gromwells (Lithospermum).’
- ‘The sturdy, somewhat odiferous false gromwell occurs across most of North Dakota, but may be absent or rare in the extreme southwestern counties.’
Middle English: from Old French gromil, probably from a medieval Latin phrase meaning ‘crane's millet’.
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