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Linum suffruticosum - White Flax

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Malpighiales - Family: Linaceae

Linum suffruticosum flowering in France

Despite its common name, the flowers of this low-growing woody biennial are not entirely white, and especially when in bud a violet or pinkish hue is usually evident.

Description

Plants can grow to a height of 40cm, but 15 to 25cm is more the norm, and the five-petalled flowers are 3 to 5cm across. The petals are white with faint pinkish veins and often with a pale purple eye. The rough, grey-green eaves of White Flax are narrow (about 1mm across) and strap like.

Flowers of White Flax

Distribution

This attractive and neat little wildflower grows throughout much of the Mediterranean Region. It is common in Portugal, Spain and southern France but is not native to the UK and Ireland.

White Flax, closup of a flower

Habitat

White Flax favours dry grassy and rocky alkaline habitats in open, sunny positions.

Flowering times

Linum suffruticosum, White Flax, produces flowers from the end of April until the end of Junly

The specimens shown here were photographed in southern France during May.

Buds of White Flax

Etymology

The specific epithet suffruticosum means somewhat shrub-like.


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