Linum - North American species

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Mark McD
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Joined: 2009-12-14
Linum - North American species

Cruising around the web, I came across a magnificent specimen of Linum kingii in the Wasatch Mountains, taken by John Perkins, a native Massachusetts gardener and Rhododendron expert. In "fair use" to have one photo to liven up this page, I post John Perkin's excellent photo (thanks John!). To see the rest of John's PicasaWeb photo gallery, click the 2nd link below.

Linum kingii in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah, showy specimen:http://picasaweb.google.com/John.A.Perkins/WasatchMountains#503006264689......John Perkins' Picasaweb photo gallery on plants of the Wasatch Mts, Utah:https://picasaweb.google.com/John.A.Perkins/WasatchMountains#

Linum kingii, very nice looking plants, again in the Wasatch Mts, Utahhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanto/3809802267/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/bryanto/3810616318/in/photostream/

I've been aware of this species for some time, but known only from photos that depict scrawny little plants with pale yellow thin-textured flowers, not too exciting. On the USDA plant profile pages below, I notice two varieties are put into synonymy with the species, var. pinetorum and var. sedoides. When I look at various photos, it almost seems like I'm look at completely different species; could it be that the taxonomists acted rashly in voiding the varieties? Some forms look like superb candidates for the rock garden.

USDA Plant Profile page & distribution maphttp://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LIKI2...photo, tiny twiggy looking plant, pale yellowhttp://plants.usda.gov/java/largeImage?imageID=liki2_002_ahp.tif

Linum kingii var. sedoides, Rocky Mountain Rare Plantshttp://www.rmrp.com/Photo%20Pages/LL/Linum%20kingii%20v%20sedoides%20100...

Linum kingii on CalPhotoshttp://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?where-genre=Plant&where-taxo...

L. kingii, [i] and others:http://www.wildgingerfarm.com/Linum.htm

L. kingii, lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, not so attractive:http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=LIKI2http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=174

Linum rigidum, an annual species with yellow-orange flowers:http://www.alplains.com/images/LinumRigidum.jpg

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Mark, I do not know if I will thank you for this presentation!  ;) I was aware of this genus however, but now that you have reminded me of them my lust to grow them escalates! (Where do I plant them :(  )

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Kelaidis
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I have often seen Linum kingii in the Utah plateau country (sneaking a bit even into Colorado and Idaho) and in Nevada: it grows incredibly abundantly wherever you find it, although clumps like the one in the picture you printed are not too common. We used to collect it during our Rocky Mountain Rare Plant years (the nineties) and distributed lots of seed. I grew a few plants that never did too much: I think they need lots of lime, rocky scree and probably troughs where they can dry out a bit between watering.

Aside from the ubiquitous and flashy blues of the Linum lewisii persuasion (there have been miniature forms cultivated by various rock gardeners I know from time to time) the yellow ones have greater variability, although many are annuals.

Our linums can't begin to compare in vibrancy, variety or garden use to the Eurasian ones, however: that's where the riches lie!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Kelaidis wrote:

I have often seen Linum kingii in the Utah plateau country (sneaking a bit even into Colorado and Idaho) and in Nevada: it grows incredibly abundantly wherever you find it, although clumps like the one in the picture you printed are not too common.

Our linums can't begin to compare in vibrancy, variety or garden use to the Eurasian ones, however: that's where the riches lie!

True enough, I'm a big fan of the Eurasian linums. I found it most interesting in the case of Linum kingii, an American species that typically doesn't merit much attention, to discover that the Wasatch Mountains forms are superb and deserving to be in cultivation.  I'll ask John where specifically they were found. 

Again in fair use, here's another view of a rocky slope in amazing bloom, from John Perkins' Picasaweb photo gallery... a nice feature on Picasaweb is you can enlarge to photo, and there is a sliding scale interface on the lower right of the image... zooming in on this view revealed that all of the yellow color on this mountainside is Linum kingii, it beautiful complement to the red Castilleja species.http://picasaweb.google.com/John.A.Perkins/WasatchMountains#503006281010...

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

That pic is jarring to me.  The peak in the background appears to be limestone, while the one in the foreground is not (?)

It must make for a lot of diversity in a small area...

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15
Kelaidis wrote:

Our linums can't begin to compare in vibrancy, variety or garden use to the Eurasian ones, however: that's where the riches lie!

Your linums can compare and compete with any Linum I have in my garden these days ;)

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Linum kingii is superb!

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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