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See also Linum aristatum and Linum lewisii.

Linum puberulum

Mesynium puberulum

Linum puberulum

Linum puberulum. Synonym: Mesynium puberulum. (Hairy Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, meadows. Spring, summer, fall.
Above: Comb Ridge, Utah, October 19, 2016.
Left: Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 13, 2007 and Comb Ridge, Utah, October 19, 2016..

This very dainty flax is easily overlooked because its leaves and stems are so narrow and grass-like and because its copper-yellow flowers blend so with the soil. Once you have spotted one plant be sure to look around for many more within a radius of ten or twenty feet. Compare this minute flax with the much more robust and very showy Blue Flax, Linum lewisii.

Although this is primarily a spring blooming annual, when moisture is right and fall weather is mild, seeds will germinate and plants will bloom into October and even November, but they will probably be, as shown in the second photograph at left, quite diminutive, about two inches tall.

Be forewarned: the petals of this plant are so delicately attached that the least bump often causes them to fall.

The Greek "meso" and "syn" mean "middle" "united" and refer to the united styles. Look at the second photograph at left and you can see the stamens and anthers surrounding a dark style which splits near the top of its length (at about the 11 o'clock position above the center of the flower.

The Latin "puber" means downy and refers to the minutely hairy character of the plant.

Augustus Fendler collected the first species of this plant for science near Santa Fe in 1846 and George Engelmann named it Linum rigidum variety puberulum in 1852. Heller renamed it Linum puberulum in 1897 and Weber named it Mesynium puberulum in 1984. Linnaeus named the Linum genus in 1753.

Mesynium puberulum

Linum puberulum

Linum puberulum. Synonym: Mesynium puberulum. (Hairy Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, meadows. Spring, summer, fall.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 13, 2007 and Comb Ridge, Utah, May 15, 2013.

Linum puberulum

Linum puberulum. Synonym: Mesynium puberulum. (Hairy Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, meadows. Spring, summer, fall.
Comb Ridge, Utah, October 19, 2016.

Linum puberulum is minutely hairy, and as the third photograph above shows, sand can easily get stuck in these hairs.

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 puberulum