Leptosiphon aureus

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Leptosiphon aureus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Polemoniaceae
Genus: Leptosiphon
L. aureus
Binomial name
Leptosiphon aureus
(Nutt.) J.M.Porter & L.A.Johnson

Leptosiphon aureus var. aureus − (Nutt.) E. Vilm [1]
Linanthus aureus

Leptosiphon aureus is a species of flowering plant in the phlox family known by the common name golden linanthus.[2]

It has been reclassified by the USDA and the Jepson Manual (TJM2) from a binomial nomenclature to two subspecies: Leptosiphon aureus var. aureus for the majority of populations,[1][3] and Leptosiphon aureus subsp. decorus for a smaller range of populations.[4][5]


The plant is native to the Southwestern United States in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Southern California; and to northwestern Mexico in Baja California state.[6]

It grows in desert flats and desert chaparral of the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Desert; in chaparral and woodlands of the Peninsular Ranges and Transverse Ranges; and in pinyon-juniper woodlands and madrean pine-oak woodlands of Madrean Sky Islands.[2]


Leptosiphon aureus is an annual herb producing a thin, threadlike stem with occasional leaves divided into narrow needlelike lobes. The oppositely arranged leaves are each divided into very narrow bristlelike lobes up to a centimeter long.[7]

The tip of the stem has an inflorescence of usually a single flower with corolla lobes under a centimeter long. With the two subspecies: ssp. aureus generally has bright to golden yellow flowers; while ssp. decorus has white or cream blooms. The bloom period is March to June.


Two subspecies, currently replacing the binomial species name in taxonomy, overlap in geography but do not occur together.[8][2]


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