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Linum aristatum. Synonym: Mesynium aristatum. (Bristly Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring, summer.
Corona Arch Trial, Utah, May 5, 2005.

The yellow Linum aristatum flower is easy enough to spot, but what plant is the flower attached to? Look at the very bottom of the photograph near the left corner and you will find the white base of the plant's stem. Follow the main stem upward and you will see it leaning a bit to the right as it rises to the yellow flower at the top of the photograph. Start again at the bottom and follow each branch. One branch to the right will take you to another yellow flower.

A second Linum aristatum plant can be seen just to the left of the bottom of the ruler, immediately above the white rock.

Linum aristatum obviously is a very slender plant, difficult to see in the field. It has a very open, airy growth pattern and it is the flower that one first notices. Leaves are slightly longer and more numerous along the base of the stems.

The clumps of arching leaves and white flowers belong to Eremocrinum albomarginatum.

Mesynium aristatum

Mesynium aristatum

Mesynium aristatum

Linum aristatum.  Synonym: Mesynium aristatum. (Bristly Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring, summer.
East of Bluff, Utah, May 3, 2007.

Buds are very sharply pointed, and flowers open to a shiny five-petaled delight. The narrow, sharply pointed ("attenuate") sepals are a distinguishing characteristic of this species.

George Engelmann named and described this plant in 1848 from a specimen collected in Mexico, just south of El Paso, Texas, by Frederick Wislizenus, his medical partner and fellow botanist. "Aristatum" is Latin for "bristle" and refers to the bristles at the top of the leaf and sepal.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Linum aristatum