Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

LINACEAE

FLAX FAMILY

Niall F. McCarten

Annual, perennial herb, shrub
Stem generally erect, branched, glabrous, hairy, or glandular
Leaves generally cauline, alternate, opposite, or whorled, simple, sessile, generally linear to ovate; stipules glandular or 0
Inflorescence: raceme or cyme, axillary, open to dense
Flower generally bisexual, radial, nodding in bud; sepals 4–5, free, glabrous, hairy, or margins gland-toothed; petals 4–5, free, blue, white, yellow, or pink, ephemeral; stamens 4–5, alternate petals, generally appendaged; staminodes alternate stamens or 0; ovary superior, chambers 2–5 but becoming 4–10 by growth of false septa, styles 2–5
Fruit: generally capsule
Genera in family: 13 genera, 300 species: worldwide, especially temp; some cultivated (Linum usitatissimum , flax, linseed; L. bienne, L. grandiflorum , ornamental)
Reference: [Robertson 1971 J Arnold Arbor 52: 649–665]

LINUM

FLAX

Annual, perennial herb
Stem 5–90 cm
Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled, erect, glabrous or hairy; margins entire or gland-toothed
Inflorescence: raceme or cyme
Flower: sepals 5, margins generally translucent; petals 5, 8–25 mm; stamens 5; staminodes 5 or 0; ovary chambers 10, styles 5, free or not, stigmas > styles in width (spheric or ± elongate) or = styles in width (± linear)
Fruit 5–10 mm
Seeds 10, generally gelatinous when wet
Species in genus: ± 200 species: temp & subtropical, especially Medit. Linum usitatissimum has been reported from D as a garden escape
Etymology: (Latin: flax)

Native

L. lewisii Pursh

Perennial
Stem glabrous
Leaf 10–20 mm, linear to lanceolate, glabrous
Inflorescence: pedicels 10–30 mm
Flower: sepals 4–6 mm, ovate; petals 6–15 mm, blue, sometimes white; styles free, stigmas ± spheric
Fruit 5–8 mm
Seed 3.5–4.5 mm
Ecology: Dry open ridges, slopes
Elevation: 400–3000 m.
Bioregional distribution: California Floristic Province, n East of Sierra Nevada, White and Inyo Mountains, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Alaska, Rocky Mtns, Texas, Mexico

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