Lithodora oleifolia
Common Name: olive-leaved gromwell  
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Boraginaceae
Native Range: Eastern Pyrenees
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Sky blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-8 where it is best grown in alkaline to neutral, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants generally dislike the hot and humid summer climates of the deep South. Apply a winter mulch in the northern parts of the growing range. May be propagated by removal of suckers in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lithodora oleifolia, commonly known as olive-leaved gromwell, is a prostrate, suckering, evergreen sub-shrub of the borage family. It typically grows to 8” tall spreading to 12” wide. It is native to a few rocky alpine areas in the Eastern Pyrennes. It is primarily noted for producing: (a) oblong to ellilptic-oblong dull dark green leaves (1/2” long) which are silky-white beneath and (b) 5-lobed trumpet-shaped sky-blue flowers (3/8” across) which bloom in early summer in showy 3-7 flowered terminal racemes. Flowers emerge from pink buds.

The Plant List currently lists Lithodora oleifolia as a synonym of Glandora oleifolia.

Genus name comes from the Greek word lythos meaning stone and dorea meaning a gift, presumably in reference to growing habitat in the wild.

Specific epithet means with leaves like olive.


No frequently occurring insect or disease problems.


Specimen or accent for borders or rock gardens. Edger. Rocky banks and slopes.