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See also Linum aristatum and Linum lewisii.
Linum subteres

Linum subteres

Linum subteres

Linum subteres (Utah Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, meadows, sand. Summer, fall.
Above and left: Comb Wash, Utah, October 28, 2013.

This is one of several very dainty flax easily overlooked because of their very slender nature, as can be seen in the blurred background of the photograph above. Linum subteres (and the other Linums in our area) often grow in scattered patches, so once you have spotted one plant be sure to look around for many more within a radius of ten or twenty feet.

Linum subteres can be a perennial or annual growing from 4-18 inches tall in a branching pattern. Stem leaves are shorter and narrower than the crowded basal leaves (see below), and flowers are up to an inch wide.

Compare this minute flax with the much more robust and very showy Blue Flax, Linum lewisii, and with the other slender yellow flax.

Linnaeus named the Linum genus in 1753. In 1891 in Nevada Marcus Jones was the first to collect this species for science and it was described and named Linum aristatum var. subteres by Trelease. Hubert Winkler later renamed it Linum subteres. "Terete" means "circular in cross-section" and perhaps refers to the flower stem.

Linum subteres

Linum subteres

Linum subteres (Utah Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, meadows, sand. Summer, fall.
Above and left: Comb Wash, Utah, October 28, 2013.

Flowers are a very attractive, bright yellow with yellow pollen. In the first photograph at left the arrows point to minute glandular hairs that fringe the sepal edges. The second photograph at left shows a flower just beginning to open with two stamens and the style (split in three at its top) protruding through the green and red, sharply pointed sepals. You can also see the glandular hairs at the base of the V of the two sepals.

Linum subteres

Linum subteres (Utah Yellow Flax)
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings, meadows, sand. Summer, fall.
Comb Wash, Utah, October 28, 2013.

Basal leaves are less than one centimeter long but are numerous and crowded. Stem leaves are few, up to 2 centimeters long, very narrow, and progressively fewer upwards on the stem.

The basal and stem leaves are very much like those of Linum lewisii.

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

Linum subteres

Range map for Linum subteres