Camelina microcarpa (Small-seeded False Flax)

Plant Info
Also known as: Littlepod False Flax
Genus:Camelina
Family:Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:Eurasia
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; dry, disturbed soil; roadsides, railroads, fields
Bloom season:May - July
Plant height:8 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: UPL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Loosely branched racemes at the top of the plant. Flowers are about 1/6 inch across with 4 spreading, pale yellow petals. In the center are 6 yellow stamens of unequal lengths and a stout style. The 4 sepals surrounding the base of the flower are generally egg-shaped, green and variously hairy. The clusters elongate as the plant matures, with flowers open at the top and fruit forming below.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Basal leaves wither away by flowering time. Stem leaves are alternate, lance-linear to lance-oblong, the lowest leaves up to 2 inches long and ¾ inch wide, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem, the leaf base with a pair of lobes that may be clasping. Edges are mostly toothless, sometimes with a few sharp teeth at the tip end.

[photo of leaf hairs (trichomes)] Leaf surfaces and edges are variously covered in hair-like projections (trichomes), most of which are simple (not branched), mixed with scattered forked trichomes that are much smaller than the simple trichomes. Stems are erect, loosely branched, densely to moderately rough-hairy near the base becoming hairless or nearly so in the flower clusters.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a capsule about 1/6 inch long, oval to nearly round but tapering at the base somewhat like an inverted pear, with a distinct rib around the edge, an obscure midvein, and the remains of the persistent style at the tip. The fruit stalks are ascending to spreading and up to 5/8 inch long. Inside the capsule are about 10 reddish to brown seeds.

Notes:

Small-seeded False Flax is an occasional weed found on roadsides and agricultural fields, and, like many weeds, is likely under-reported in the state. It is very similar to the related Large-seeded False Flax (Camelina sativa), which has mostly forked trichomes that are about as long as the simple trichomes, but hasn't been seen in Minnesota in well over 100 years.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Marshall and Otter Tail counties.

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