Friday, February 3, 2012

Flax

Linum
The only part of the Flax plant that is edible is the seed if it is cooked. Cooking gets rid of the enzyme that produces cyanide. Some Flax is cultivated commercially for use in producing cooking oil. They are rabbit and deer resistant.

* photo of unknown internet source


Linum flavum ( Golden Flax )
A fast growing, shrubby perennial, reaching up to 2 x 2 feet, that is native to central Europe.
The narrowly-oval leaves, up to 1.5 inches in length, are deep blue-green.
The abundant golden-yellow flowers, up to 1 inches across, that are borne on sprays from early to mid summer.
Hardy zones 3 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on very well drained soil.

* historical archive photo


Linum hypericifolium
A robust, handsome, clump-forming perennial, reaching up to 16 inches in height.
The fibrous root clumps become tough with age.
Hardy zones 5b to 9 in full sun. Drought tolerant.

Linum lewisii ( Blue Flax )
An upright, woody-based perennial, reaching a maximum height of 3 x 2 feet, that is native to that is native to dry prairies and high mountains of western North America ( from northwest Alaska to northwest Northwest Territories to Great Slave Lake, N.W.T. to far northern Ontario; south to California to Louisiana ). It is endangered in Kansas and Ontario. A single clump may contain up to 10 stems. It is very similar to Linum perenne but with abundant, larger flowers, up to 1.5 inches wide. The flowers attract butterflies.
The linear leaves, up to 1 inch long, are blue-green.
The seed of this plant was part of Native American diet.
Hardy zones 3 to 6 in full sun ( tolerates light shade ) on well drained soil. It is tolerant of drought and even pure sand. Do not overfertilize. Cut back during summer after flowering.

* photo taken by Sheri Hagwood @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

* photo taken by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Linum narbonensis ( Narbonne Flax )
A wiry-stemmed perennial, reaching a maximum size of 2 x 2 feet, that is native to southern Europe ( from northeast Portugal to Yugoslavia; south to the Mediterranean & northern Africa ). It is longer lived than Linum perenne.
The narrow, lance-shaped leaves, up to 0.8 inches in length, are gray-green.
The foliage is evergreen in mild climates.
The abundant, bright blue flowers, up to 2 inches across, are borne over a very long season from early summer to early autumn.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in full sun on sandy, well drained soil. Very tolerant of drought and also heat tolerant, it prefers a mediterranean climate. Shear after blooming. It may self seed but not invasively so.

Linum perenne ( Blue Flax )
A woody-based perennial, reaching a maximum size of 4 x 2 ( rarely over 3 ) feet, that is native to grasslands and subalpine meadows in temperate Eurasia ( from England to Russia; south to Spain to central Asia and Mongolia ).
The lance-shaped leaves are up to 1.6 x 0.2 ( rarely over 1 ) inch in size. The foliage is blue-green.
The abundant, bright blue flowers, up to 1 inch across, are borne all summer long.
Can be used in much the same way as Linum usitatissimum.
Hardy zones 2 to 8 in full sun to partial shade on light, well drained soil. Extremely cold tolerant; it even thrives in Fairbanks, Alaska. Very tolerant of drought and also heat tolerant, they do not enjoy wet conditions during winter. Shear back hard after blooming to encourage a second flush of blooms.
They can be short-lived, frequently self seed.

'Appar'
Compact in habit, reaching up to 1.5 x 1.5 feet, with abundant, pure blue flowers over an extended season.

* photos of unknown internet source



'Blue Sapphire'
Upright in habit, reaching a maximum size of 2 x 2 feet, with intense bright blue flowers borne from late spring into summer, lasting up to 3 months.

'Diamant White'
Dwarf, reaching a maximum size of 2 x 1.5 feet, with pure white flowers borne from late spring into summer, lasting up to 3 months.

Linum striatum
Reaches up to 4 feet.
Text description coming soon.

Linum usitatissimum ( Common Flax )
A erect annual plant, reaching a maximum height of 4 ( rarely over 2 ) feet. It is native to western Europe and around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has naturalized locally near Wiarton, Ontario and in Alberta from Edmonton and south.
The narrow, lance-shaped leaves, up to 1.6 x 0.1 inches in size, are blue-green.
The pale blue flowers are borne all summer long.
Thrives in full sun on fertile, well drained soil. It is not very heat tolerant.
The cooked seeds of the Flax are the only part of the plant that can be eaten. Flaxseed is rich in healthy fatty acids including Omega 3 which helps control cholesterol in the body. Flaxseed also called Linseed Oil is also used to make a protective weatherproof paint, varnish and wood preserve.
Only the seed of the Flax plant is edible, the remainder of the plant contains chemicals that form cyanide when ingested. Cyanide poisoning sympytoms indlude oxygen statvation causing rapid breathing, faintness, headaches, coma and death.
Flax plants can cause poisioning when eaten by livestock however the seed cake remaining after flax oil extraction is often used for animal feed and is nutritious.
Flax has also been used in the manufacture of high quality paper.

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