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Native flax (Linum marginale)


Linum marginale, known by the common name of native flax or Australian flax, is a short lived perennial flowering herb, native to Australia. A slender, wispy, upright plant, growing to around 1 metre high, Native Flax is often overlooked when not in flower. It should not be confused with species of Wahlenbergia, which occurs in the same area and can appear similarly. Like most species of Linum, Linum marginale can be used to produce useful fibre, but is not grown on a commercial level for this purpose. Native flax has small linear blue green leaves, often pushed quite close to the stem. To the untrained eye from a distance, in may appear to have no leaves. Unlike most other species of flax which have yellow flowers, Linum marginale beaks into sprays of large, electric blue flowers in spring and early summer. The flowers (around 3 cm across) have five petals and form at the top of each wiry stem of the plant. Flowers are replaced in summer by small, globular, papery capsules, about 3 mm across, containing a cluster of buff coloured, sesame-like seeds. Like many southern Australian flowers, the plant dies back in summer, but reshoots the following autumn when the rains return.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum:

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Malpighiales

            • Family: Linaceae

              • Genus: Linum