The Flax family are perennial or annual herbs, in our area they have flowers of 5 separate showy petals (which often fall away early), 5 nearly separate sepals, and five stamens, which alternate with the petals and join at the base to create a low collar. The pistil has 5 divisions length-wise. The 5 styles are often longer than the short stamens. The capsule produces 2 flattened seeds from each of the 5 sections. The leaves are alternate, often small and very narrow. This family consists of about 10 genera and nearly 200 species worldwide, widely distributed, but mainly in temperate regions. The European Common Flax has been used by humans for thousands of years. It's long fibers are used to make linen, the oldest known textile. The fibers are used also for nets and ropes, and the seeds are pressed to obtain linseed oil. The left over seed husks and fiber-less plant material is used for cattle feed. It's latin name, Linum usitatissium, means "of maximum usefulness".
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the Flax Family
Linum lewisii Western Blue Flax Slender, hairless perennial 10-60 cm tall, with several stems. Dry, open areas.
Flowers blue, showy, 2-4 cm across, the 5 broad petals soon dropped.
Leaves alternate, linear, numerous, 1-3 cm long and about 2 mm broad.
Alphabetical listing with links to presented species of the Flax family: