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Montana Field Guides

Stiff-stem Flax - Linum rigidum
Other Names:  Linum compactum

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

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General Description
Plants: Annual with erect stems, 5-50 cm, branched above (Lesica 2012) rather rigidly and diffusely, conspicuously striate-angled (Hitchcock et al. 1961); herbage smooth throughout or minutely pubescent near the base (McGregor et al. 1986).

Leaves: Alternate, near-opposite below, linear or narrowly lanceolate, entire or higher ones with a few teeth, up to 4 mm in width (McGregor et al. 1986) and 10-30 mm in length; bracts awned, glandular-serrate, sometimes with small, purple stipular glands (Lesica 2012).

Inflorescence: A leafy-bracteate, often flat-topped panicle (Lesica 2012).

In Montana two varieties occur; however, they reproductively intergrade and cannot be separated by geography or ecology (Lesica 2012).

Linum rigidum var. compactum: Plants are 20 cm or less in height (Lesica 2012), sometimes up to 32 cm (McGregor et al. 1986) and lack glands on the stipules (Lesica 2012).

Linum rigidum var. rigidum: Plants are 20 cm or more in height (Lesica 2012), as much as 40 cm with ascending branches (McGregor et al. 1986), and possess glands on the stipules (Lesica 2012).


(Lesica's contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Phenology
Variety compactum: Flowers May – September (McGregor et al. 1986).

Variety rigidium: Flowers May-October (McGregor et al. 1986).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Plants of variety rigidum are 20 cm or more in height, have styles 4-6 mm in length, and possess stipular glands. Variety compactum plants are 20 cm or less in height, have styles 3-4 mm in length, and lack stipular glands (Lesica 2012).

The two varieties may be difficult to separate in the northern Great Plains where style length may be similar and lower leaves of variety compactum plants occasionally possess stipular glands (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round
 


Range Comments
Linum rigidum: AB to MB south to NM and TX (Lesica 2012).

Variety compactum: AB to SK, s to TX (McGregor et al. 1986).

Variety rigidum: AB to MB, s to Mexico (McGregor et al. 1986).


(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 294

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Linum rigidum: Grasslands, sagebrush steppe; plains, valleys (Lesica 2012).

Variety compactum: Pebbly or sandy prairies, high plains (McGregor et al. 1986).

Variety rigidum: Sparsely or moderately wooded hillsides, sandy prairies, rarely in grasslands with high calcium content (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Ecology
Linum rigidum var. rigidum and L. rigidum var. compactum intergrade (Rogers 1968) and are similar ecologically and geographically in MT (Lesica 2012).

(Lesica's contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

POLLINATORS
The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus bifarius (Thorp et al. 1983).

Reproductive Characteristics
Flowers: Flowers yellow; sepals lanceolate, 5-9 mm in length, glandular-serrate (Lesica 2012), 1- or 3-veined; petals yellow, often reddish and hairy at the base, ovate or widely so (McGregor et al. 1986), 7-16 mm in length; style 3-6 mm in length, united to above the middle (Lesica 2012); stamens (4)6-8(9) mm in length, with anthers elliptic or linear-elliptic (McGregor et al. 1986).

Fruit: The deltoid-ovate capsule 2.5-3.5(4) mm in width (McGregor et al. 1986), 4-5 mm in length, splitting into 5 2-seeded segments (Lesica 2012); seeds brownish, ca 3 mm in length and 1.0-1.5 mm in width (McGregor et al. 1986).

Var. compactum: Plants have styles 3-4 mm in length (Lesica 2012), and more or less ovate fruits with russet seeds (McGregor et al. 1986).

Var. rigidum: Plants have styles mostly 4-6 mm in length (Lesica 2012), sometimes as much as 11 mm, and oval, lustrous fruits with brown seeds (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Great Plains Flora Association (McGregor, R.L., coordinator, and T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, and E.K. Schofield - eds.). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press Kansas. 1392 pp.
    • Hitchcock, C. L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson. 1961. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest, Part 3. Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. Seattle, WA and London, England: University of Washington. 614 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Rogers, C.M. 1968. Yellow–Flowered Species of Linum in Central America and Western North America. Brittonia 20:107-135.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Fritzen, D.E. 1995. Ecology and behavior of Mule Deer on the Rosebud Coal Mine, Montana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 143 p.
    • Jones, W. W. 1901. Preliminary flora of Gallatin County. M.S. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State College. 78 pp.
    • Jorgensen, H.E. 1970. Ecological aspects of the life history of Agropyron smithii Rydb. in Central Montana, with related effects of selective herbicide treatments of rangeland. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 118 p.
    • Mundinger, J.G. 1975. The influence of rest-rotation grazing management on waterfowl production on stock-water reservoirs in Phillips County, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 100 p.
    • Mussgnug, G.L. 1972. The structure and performance of an adult population of Aulocara elliotti (Thomas) (Orthoptera, Acrididae) near Billings, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 97 p.
    • Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
    • Rundquist, V.M. 1973. Avian ecology on stock ponds in two vegetational types in north-central Montana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 112 p.
    • Seipel, T.F. 2006. Plant species diversity in the sagebrush steppe of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 87 p.
    • Tschache, O.P. 1970. Effects of ecological changes induced by various sagebrush control techniques on small mammal populations. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 51 p.
    • Wiman, N.G. 2001. Dynamics of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) infested plant communities influenced by flea beetles in the Aphthona complex (Colepotera: Chrysomelidae). M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 148 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Stiff-stem Flax — Linum rigidum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from