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Botanical family: Linaceae

Number of plants found: 2    

Linum usitatissimum, Flax, Linseed

Linum usitatissimum

Flax, Linseed
Family: Linaceae
Origin: Mediterranean to India
USDA Zone: 4-8?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapSmall plant 2-5 ftFull sunRegular waterBlue, lavender, purple flowersEdible plantPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirdsSpice or herb plantEthnomedical plant.
Plants marked as ethnomedical and/or described as medicinal, are not offered as medicine but rather as ornamentals or plant collectibles.
Ethnomedical statements / products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We urge all customers to consult a physician before using any supplements, herbals or medicines advertised here or elsewhere.Subtropical or temperate zone plant. Mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short time

Linum usitatissimum (Flax) is a small shrub that grows 2-5 feet tall. It is native to Mediterranean regions and India. It is grown for its seeds and for its fibers, with the use of flax for the production of linen dating back at least to ancient Egyptian times. To grow flax, it requires full sun and regular water, but not too much. Linum usitatissimum has sky blue, lavender, and purple flowers, making it not just a valuable herb, spice, or ethnomedical plant, but also a beautiful ornamental plant that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. The fruits of Linum usitatissimum are edible and a mature plant can be cold hardy at least to 30sF for a short time.

It is valued primarily for the production of linseed oil, but it also carries many health benefits. Some studies suggest it can lower cholesterol levels, and that taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers. It is particularly high in dietary fiber as well as micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax is also used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap.

Each plant can produce fruits, inside of which these edible, small, rounded, oval, olive-brown seeds are contained up to eight. The flavor of the seeds is bitter, so it is often used as a spice, herb, or ethnomedical plant in food and drinks. The seed is also added to various recipes to increase nutrient content. Flax seed is the source of linseed oil, which has uses as an edible oil, as a nutritional supplement and as an ingredient in many wood finishing products.

Flax seeds contain high levels of dietary fiber including lignans, an abundance of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that Flax seeds may lower cholesterol levels, taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast and prostate cancers and much.

Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap. Flax fibers are amongst the oldest fiber crops in the world. The use of flax for the production of linen goes back at least to ancient Egyptian times.

As well as having a place in the culinary arts, flax is also the emblem of Northern Ireland.

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Reinwardtia indica, Golden girl, Yellow flax

Reinwardtia indica

Golden girl, Yellow flax
Family: Linaceae
Origin: South Asia
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallFull sunRegular waterYellow, orange flowersPlant attracts butterflies, hummingbirds

Always rewarding is to find a shrub that produces showy flowers during the cool winter months. Midday in December or January you may witness as many as two dozen yellow flowers that are open. Each golden-yellow flower, 2" wide, lasts that one day and is described as being fugacious, meaning that the corolla withers and falls off easily. It commemorates Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt (1773-1854), a Prussian-born Dutch botanist who held important positions and professorships in The Netherlands but also served as the founder and first director of agriculture of the botanic garden at Bogor (Buitenzorg) in Java, then a Dutch colony.

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