Linum L.


Latin name for the cultivated flax.

Upright, more or less hairless annual and perennial herbs. Leaves alternate, entire, linear to linearlanceolate. Flower clusters mostly flat-topped. Flowers red, blue, yellow or white. Sepals 5, persistent in fruit. Petals 5. Stamens 5, alternating with 5 sterile stamens, the filaments fused at the base. Ovary 5-chambered, with 2 ovules in each chamber. Styles 5, free or united. Fruit capsules topped by persistent styles and containing 10 seeds that become mucilaginous and swollen on wetting.

Grown for the short-lived, simple, delicate flowers and graceful foliage.

L. trigynum L., French Flax, is an annual yellow-flowered Mediterranean herb to 0.5 m tall that is naturalised in N NSWand S Qld.

About 180 species from temperate and subtropical regions.

Seed or shrubs by semi-hardwood cuttings.

L. usitatissimum L., Flax (Linseed), is the source of flax fibre which, when retted, is converted to paper, linen and other textiles including rope and sacking. Linseed oil and other oils used in painting, printing, soaps etc. are extracted from the seed. Flax is available as a range of commercial cultivars. There are also medicinal uses, and seed cakes are used as stock feed. Aborigines used the bark and stems of L. marginale for nets and also ate the seeds.

Herb with 5 styles.

Source: Spencer, R. (2002). Linaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Malpighiales
family       Linaceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species         Linum perenne L.