E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Melampyrum lineare Desr.
American Cow Wheat (cow-wheat; narrowleaf cowwheat; platterful mushroom)
Orobanchaceae (Broom-rape family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #66006)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Melampyrum lineare
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Melampyrum lineare var. lineare

Species Information

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Annual herb; stems slender, ascending to erect, 10-40 cm tall, simple or commonly with a few branches, nearly smooth to minutely hairy or glandular, especially above.
Opposite, short-stalked, lanceolate to linear, mostly entire, the uppermost leaves often toothed near the base, 2-5 cm long, smooth or glandular.
Inflorescence a leafy-bracted terminal spike, or of solitary, short-stalked flowers in the upper leaf axils; corollas white to straw-coloured or pinkish, tubular with a yellow patch in the throat, 5-12 mm long, 2-lipped, the upper lip hood-like, the lower lip 3-lobed; calyces cup-shaped, deeply 4-lobed, the lobes awl-shaped; stamens 4.
Capsules, curved, asymmetrically egg-shaped, flattened, 8-10 mm long; seeds 1 to 4, 2-4 mm long, blackish with light-coloured tips when mature.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic grassy openings, sandy or gravelly terraces, rocky slopes and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; locally frequent in BC south of 57degreeN, except absent on the Queen Charlotte Islands; E to NF and S to ME, PA, SC, TN, WI, MN, MT, ID and WA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Melampyrum lineare

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 8 902 2010
Slope Gradient (%) 0 13 80
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 193 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(12), CWH(8), ESSF(18), ICH(105), IDF(90), MS(48), PP(3), SBPS(49), SBS(220)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is montane boreal & cool temperate.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References