Linum bicolor is a problematic North African taxon associated with L. setaceum. A consensus on the taxonomic status of a putative form (L. setaceum var. bicolor f. robusta) has not been achieved yet. We conducted a morphological study based on herbarium and field collections, combined with nuclear (ITS) and plastid (ndhF5–8 and trnL-F) phylogenies to clarify its status. The phylogenetic analysis did not reveal molecular divergence, but a comparative morphological study revealed substantial differences in traits previously used to distinguish the two taxa (stems, leaves, corolla and calyx size). In addition, we found that the indumentum of sepals, petal colour, and the arrangement of anthers and stigmas differed so clearly between the form robusta and L. setaceum s. stricto, that recognizing the former taxon as an independent species was justified. We provide an identification key to the yellow- and white-flowered Linum species in NW Africa. We also revised the unplaced name L. bicolor Schoubs. ex DC. and lectotypified it to avoid nomenclatural problems.
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Vol. 52 • No. 5–6