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Melampyrum lineare

Melampyrum lineare Desr.

 

Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyOrobanchaceaeBroomrape family of parasitic plants
GenusMelampyrumFrom Greek melas, “black,” and pyros, “wheat,” for the black seeds
Specieslineare“Linear,” for the long narrow leaves

About plant names...

Cow-wheat is a North American native plant. Like other members of the figwort family, cow-wheat is hemiparasitic: it derives some of its energy from sunlight and some by attaching its roots to nearby plants’ roots and parasitizing them.

Identification: Plants are 3-16" (7.6-40 cm) tall, usually branched, hairless or with fine hairs. Cow-wheat’s small size and low-key flowers makes it easily overlooked, but it is very common on forest floors in many parts of North America. Leaves are opposite, ¾-2" (2-6 cm) long, usually smooth edged (entire) and sometimes with teeth near the base. They and long and narrow to lance-shaped (linear to lanceolate). Flowers are cream-colored, sometimes with a touch of pink, ¼-⅜" (8-12 mm) long, and tubular, with a yellow lower lip. They appear from June to August. Fruits are blackish, curved, flattened capsules.

Medical: An infusion made from the plant was once used by the Ojibwe Indians as a “little medicine for the eyes.”

Online References:

Melampyrum lineare on BorealForest.org

Melampyrum lineare at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Melampyrum lineare on Discover Life

Melampyrum lineare on Ontario Wildflowers

Melampyrum lineare on the USDA Plants Database

Melampyrum lineare on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Melampyrum lineare at Minnesota Wildflowers

Melampyrum lineare on Keir Morse's site, Keirosity.com

Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

7/11/2012 · Jeff Smith Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4" (14 × 10 cm)

Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

6/14/2016 · Andres Institute of Art, Big Bear Mountain, Brookline, NH

Melampyrum lineare description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

7/20/2012 · J. Harry Rich Dirt Road, Groton, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

7/11/2012 · Jeff Smith Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 11 × 8" (27 × 19 cm)

Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

7/20/2012 · J. Harry Rich Dirt Road, Groton, MA
≈ 11 × 7" (27 × 18 cm)

Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

8/3/2009 · 111 Near 119, Pepperell, MA
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 15 cm)

Melampyrum lineare (Cow-wheat, Narrowleaf Cowwheat)

7/11/2012 · Jeff Smith Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 4½" (12 × 11 cm)

Range:

About this map...