18. Linum virginianum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 279. 1753.
Woodland flax, Virginia yellow flax Woodland flax, Virginia yellow flax
Cathartolinum virginianum (Linnaeus) Reichenbach
Herbs, perennial, 15–80 cm, glabrous. Stems erect, branches 1–several from base, unbranched proximal to inflorescence. Leaves: proximal 4–10 pairs opposite, distal alternate, erect to spreading; stipular glands absent; blade of proximal leaves spatulate, central and distal elliptic, oblanceolate, or obovate, 15–25 × 3–7 mm, margins entire, not ciliate, apex acute to apiculate. Inflorescences corymbs. Pedicels 1–10 mm. Flowers: sepals persistent, lanceolate-ovate, inner shorter, broader, thinner than outer, outer sepals 2–4 mm, margins not scarious, inner sepals usually with a few small, sessile glands along margin distal to middle, rarely eglandular, outer ones entire, apex acute to acuminate; petals yellow, obovate (sometimes notched at apex), 3–5.5 mm; stamens 1.2–3 mm; anthers 0.5–1 mm; staminodia absent; styles distinct, 1–2 mm; stigmas capitate. Capsules globose, carpels flattened or ± concave abaxially, 1.3–1.8 × 2–2.5 mm, apex depressed, dehiscing freely into 10, 1-seeded segments, segments falling freely, false septa nearly complete, proximal margins usually sparsely and inconspicuously few-ciliate. Seeds 1–1.5 × 0.6–0.9 mm. 2n = 36.
Flowering Jun–Oct. Open woods, fields, thickets, roadsides; 0–800 m; Ont.; Ala., Conn., Del., D.C., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., Mo., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va.
Linum virginianum lacks prominent marginal teeth on the inner sepals, thus distinguishing it from L. striatum. It has a less elongate inflorescence and lacks the ribbed branchlets found in L. striatum (C. M. Rogers 1984). The corollas of L. virginianum are nearly rotate; all parts of the flower are yellow except the brownish anthers. Its capsules shatter readily and often are absent on herbarium sheets.