Yellow Flax
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Yellow Flax
ative obovate Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Yellow Flax, Golden girl • Hindi: बसंती Basanti • Nepali: प्याउली Pyauli • Telugu: Verriyaadala • Khasi: Tin-wa-lei, Syntew-lang-ksir
Botanical name: Reinwardtia indica    Family: Linaceae (Linseed family)
Synonyms: Reinwardtia trigyna, Linum trigynum, Linum repens

Yellow Flax is an erect to spreading shrub, up to 1 m tall, but is grazed by animals, and is commonly found only in a prostrate state. Leaves are elliptic to inverted lance-shaped. Each golden-yellow flower is up to 4 cm long, with 5 obovate petals which are 2-3 times as long as sepals. Sepals 0.9-1.2 cm long, about 3 mm broad, distinct. The name commemorates Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt (1773-1854), a Prussian-born Dutch botanist. The flowers are composed of five petals fused to form the 2-cm tube. The flowers have fine reddish veins in the throat, such lines are termed nectar guides or nectar lines, because they typically communicate to pollinating insects where to go to find a nectar reward. Yellow Flax is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to SW China, at altitudes of 500-2300 m. It is a common wildflower of north-Indian hill-stations. It is also found in Western Ghats. Flowering: November-May.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand & Imphal, Manipur.

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