by Stephen Mifsud
   18 Feb 2020      ()
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Linum usitatissimum   (Common Flax)

Linum usitatissimum   (LINACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands at or after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2010 (last update: 12-Jan-2019)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (Oct-2010) Linum usitatissimum retrieved from on 2020-Feb-18

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Linum usitatissimum L.
Published in L., Sp. Pl. 277 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

No Main Synonyms
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life ]

Plant Family :

Linaceae S.F. Gray (The Flax Family)
6 species from the Linaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Common Flax, Flaxseed

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Casual or accidental alien species introduced in Malta rather recently and which is short-lived or resticted in small populations for a short time without becoming widespread.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common     Frequent     Scarce     Rare     Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: THEROPHYTE (annuals)
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection [link]:

Not Protected by Law (LN200/2011 or LN311/2006)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :


Colour of Flowers:


Species Description and Distribution

Habitat in Europe:

Not known wild. Of uncertain origin, perhaps derived from 23.

Preferred habitat in Malta:

Often found cultivated in open fields and some escapees in field margins or valley sides which do not persist for long.

Botanical Description:

Annual; robust stems 16-70 cm, unbranched or sparsely branched, slender, ascending or erect. Leaves 1.5-3 mm wide, linear or linear-lanceolate, acuminate, 3-veined. Sepals 6-9 mm, subequal, ovate-acuminate, with a conspicuous midvein; margin of inner sepals scarious and ciliate, margin of outer sepals entire. Petals 2-3 times as long as sepals, blue. Stigmas linear. Capsule 6-9 mm, subglobose; beak c. 1 mm, acuminate. Homostylous.

Distributional range:

Formerly cultivated throughout most of Europe for the fibre (flax) and oil from the seed (linseed ) now much less commonly grown, especially in the west, but still recorded as a casual throughout Europe.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):

Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):


Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(Euro+Med Checklist, 2017) - Country codes

Bl(N) Ct dHb(E) Hs(S) dTu(A) [Ab(A) AE aAg aAl Ar Au(A) ?Au(L) aAz(F) BH Bl(I M) nBl(N) nBr Bu By aCa Ca(C G L P T) aCg aCo Cr aCs Ct Cy aEg Es nGa(C) Ga(F) Ge nGg Gg(A G) nGr nHb Hb(E N) Hs nHs(A S) cHu IJ aIr aIs nIt La aLi LS Lt nLu aMa aMd Md(M) Mk Mo No aPo Rf(C E K NW S) cRf(N) aRm nSa nSi(S) cSk Sl Sr nTcs aTn Tu(A E) Uk(U)]

Images (14 images)
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-0.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-1.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-2.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-3.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-4.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-5.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-6.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-7.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-8.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-9.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-10.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-11.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-12.
   Linum usitatissimum   -   Image Code: LNMUS-13.

Links & Further info

Google Web

Google Images

Yahoo Web

Yahoo Images




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



The Plant List


Vienna Virt. Hb.





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