Many stalks arise from one root system; begins flowering very low to the ground. Flowers many, from coiled flowering stalks; each flower tubular, though this is hardly visible, with 5 lobes, orange yellow, rarely pale yellow. Blooms March–June. Leaves inconspicuous at flowering time, alternate, lanceolate, pointing upward, very hairy. Fruit small nutlets that are shiny white to yellowish brown.
There are four species of Lithospermum in our state, three of which are called "puccoons." Yellow puccoon (L. incisum) has flowers lemon yellow or bright yellow, with the lobes toothed, fringed, or wrinkled. Plains puccoon (L. carolinense) is similar to hoary puccoon, but its foliage is rough-hairy with stiff hairs (not softly hairy) and has longer flowers.