Aug 162007

Native Flax

Linum marginale: This beautiful slender erect perennial grows to between 60-80cm in height and 30cm wide. In spring (Sept-Nov) lovely open bright blue 5 petalled flowers with darker blue venation are held above delicate small blue green leaves. Perfect for a cottage look or a meadow look in your garden.

Its seed matures in late spring to early summer and is encased in a pale brown papery capsule comprising 10 separate segments, each containing one seed. Each seed produces a very sticky gel and they adhere strongly to nearby surfaces.

The plant dies back after flowering and old stems can be cut back in autumn.
It is found across temperate parts of Australia and New Zealand growing in open woodland and grassland and will tolerate full sun to light shade. It has a high frost tolerance and medium tolerance to heavy soil, coastal conditions and drought. It will tolerate temperatures in the mid 30s to low 40°C for short periods of time but requires watering over long dry periods.

It forms part of the community of Western Basalt Plains Grasslands that is threatened by the expansion of housing development around Melbourne. The Wurundjerri people used the stems to make twine for fishing nets and seeds were also eaten.

Linum can be used in the garden as part of a native meadow garden, in a cottage garden or grown in containers. Use it anywhere you want a soft effect and to show off its gorgeous flowers.

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