Linum puberulum - 1

Plains Flax - Linum puberulum
East of Hillsboro
New Mexico, USA
April 8, 2017

The best way to separate Plains FlaxLinum puberulum from Chihuahua Yellow Flax, Linum vernale,  is The difference between the two is the pubescence of the foliage.  Linum vernale does not have pubescent foliage (covered in small hairs). In fact, all of the other 12 yellow flax flowers found in New Mexico lack pubescent foliage. 

Linum puberulumhas a limited range within the United States (see BONAP map to the right), being found only in the west, north of Sonora and Chihuahua in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and California (where it is rare).  It may also be found in a limited area in northern Mexico.  The light green color on the map indicates that the species is native to, and not rare within, the county indicated.

Scientific synonyms for this species include Cathartolinum puberulum, Cathartolinum vestitum, Mesynium puberulum, and Linum rigidum Pursh var. puberulum The original description of the species was made by George Englemannlater modified by Amos Arthur Heller.  It is also known as Hairy Yellow Flax and Desert Flax.

The Holotype Specimen was first described by E. O. Wooton & Standley as Cathartolinum vestitum The specimen was collected by O. B. Metcalfe in 1901 at Mangas Springs, New Mexico.  The Isotype Specimen of Linum rigidum var. puberulum was collected by A. Fendler in 1847, in northeastern New Mexico.  It is this specimenwhich is shown below.

The Native American Ethnobotany Data Base lists several uses of the plant by the indigenous peoples of this area - but I have to wonder about it being used as an “infusion of plant taken to kill a swallowed red ant”.



East of Hillsboro, New Mexico
April 27, 2020
Photographs immediately above and below

Photographs immediately above and below
Apache Peak North of Lake Valley, Black Range, New Mexico
April 14, 2020

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