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LINACEAE FLAX FAMILY

Joshua R. McDill

Annual, perennial herb [shrub, tree, vine]. Stem: generally erect [climbing], branched, glabrous to hairy. Leaf: cauline, alternate to opposite or whorled, simple, generally sessile, linear to obovate, entire to minutely toothed or ciliate, teeth occasionally gland-tipped; stipules small, dark-colored, spheric glands, or 0. Inflorescence: raceme, panicle, or cyme [spike]. Flower: bisexual, radial; sepals [4]5, free; petals = sepals in number, free to adherent; stamens 5[4 or 10], alternate petals, filaments fused basally into a cup-like structure surrounding ovary base; staminodes present, alt stamens at cup rim, or 0; ovary superior, carpels 2–5, fused, styles 2–5, = carpel number, free or partly fused. Fruit: capsule, generally dehiscent [drupe in some tropical species], generally 10-seeded.
13 genera, ± 250 species: cosmopolitan, most temperate, some cultivated. [McDill et al. 2009 Syst Bot 34:386–405] Hesperolinon, Sclerolinon are evolutionary lineages within Linum. —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Robert Patterson, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Unabridged references: [Robertson 1971 J Arnold Arbor 52:649–665]

Key to Linaceae

LINUM FLAX
Annual, perennial herb. Leaf: generally alternate, occasionally partially opposite [whorled], ± sessile, generally glabrous; stipule glands present or 0. Inflorescence: raceme or cyme. Flower: inner 2 sepals overlapped by outer 3, all margins generally translucent, generally ciliate or toothed, glandular or not; petals 5–25 mm, generally ephemeral; staminodes 0 or 5; carpels 5, ovary chambers 10, styles free or fused, stigmas 5, >= style width. Fruit: 3–10 mm diam, generally spheric, dehiscent, generally 5 or 10 segmented. Seed: 5 or 10, lens-shaped, rounded, brown to black, generally glossy.
± 180 species: temperate & subtropics, especially Eurasia and North America. (Latin: flax) [Rogers 1984 North Amer Flora Ser II 12:1–56] Linum usitatissimum cultivated for fiber (linen) and seed for oil and food; Linum perenne, Linum grandiflorum, ornamental; some Eurasian species used in cancer treatment.

Key to Linum

L. usitatissimum L.
NATURALIZED
Annual. Stem: 20–100 cm, glabrous. Leaf: alternate, 10–40 mm, linear to lanceolate; stipule glands 0. Flower: sepals 6–9 mm, ovate, acuminate, margin minutely ciliate (entire); petals 10–15 mm, blue (white); styles separate or ± fused at base, 3–6 mm. Fruit: 5–10 mm wide, generally dehiscent, of 10 ± adherent segments. Seed: 4–6 mm, brown.
2n=30. Disturbed areas, abandoned cultivated sites; < 1000 m. Northwestern California, Sierra Nevada Foothills, Great Central Valley, Central Western California, Southwestern California, Desert (except Desert Mountains); Sporadic worldwide; native to Eurasia. Sporadic escape from cultivation. Apr–May [Online Interchange]

Previous taxon: Linum puberulum
Next taxon: Sclerolinon

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Oct 23 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Linum, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=31176, accessed on Oct 23 2014

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Linum usitatissimum Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.