Family: Linaceae
Common Name: Flax

These hardy perennials, annuals and shrubs are found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Most occur in Europe, especially around the Mediterranean. Apart from the eco­nomically valuable L. usitatissimum, which is the source of linseed oil and which supplies flax used for making linen, there are several orna­mental garden plants suitable for rock gardens and borders. The abundant flowers may be blue, red, white or yellow.


L. flavum 'Compactum', zone 5, a perennial to 15 cm (6 in), has dense heads of golden yellow flowers during summer. In cool areas, protect from excess winter wet.

L. gran­diflorum, zone 7, the choicest annual species, produces reddish pink flowers in summer. There are several choice cultivars of this species.

L. monogynum, zone 8, from New Zealand, a white-flowering form, grows to 60 cm (24 in) high.

L. narbonense, zone 5, a perennial, grows to 60 cm (24 in), with large, sky blue tlowers with a white eye, in spring and summer. Cultivar 'Heavenly Blue' is slightly smaller and useful for rockeries.

L. perenne, zone 7, is a vig­orous, upright perennial, to 30 cm (12 in), with open, pale blue, funnel-shaped flowers in mid-summer. Varieties with white or pink flowers are also available.


Grow in any well-drained soil and shelter from strong wind. Give regular summer water, but keep fairly dry in winter. Propagate from seed or cuttings.


There are species suited to various climatic zones.

Linospadix      Liquidambar