Yellow Owl-clover
Orthocarpus luteus Nutt.
Family: Scrophulariaceae, Figwort
Genus: Orthocarpus
Other names: yellow owlclover
Nomenclature: luteus = yellow
Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
No edibility data
No medicinal data

General: annual, 10-40 cm tall, simple or sometimes branched above. Herbage spreading-hairy throughout (or finally almost hairless below), the hairs of the leaves mostly shorter than those of the stem, many of the hairs, at least in the flower cluster, gland-tipped.

Leaves: alternate, 1.5-4 cm long, stalkless, linear or lance-linear, entire or some of them with 2 narrow side lobes, the leaves gradually passing into leafy, lobed, floral bracts upward on stem.

Flowers: many in tall, dense, narrow spikes. The bracts at flower bases becoming shorter, broader, and more cleft higher up, the mid segment broadly round-tipped. Calyx 4-7 mm long, almost equally cleft into 4 pointed lobes. Corolla 9-14 mm long, golden yellow, gradually expanded to the pouch-shaped, minutely 3-toothed, lower lip. upper lip short and broad, about equaling the lower lip. July-August.

Fruits: capsules, 5-7 mm long, with many seeds.


Low ground, dry, open sites, meadows, from the plains to moderate elevations in the mountains, in most parts of MT. Also from B.C. to CA, e. of the Cascades, e. to Manitoba, MN, NE, and NM.
Other Uses

The Blackfoot Indians crushed leaves and the whole, blooming plant of yellow owl-clover and pressed them firmly into skins, horsehair and feathers as a red dye. The Great Basin Indians used the whole plant to make a yellow dye.

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