Linum usitatissimum L.


Sp. Pl. 277 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Glabrous annual herb, mostly 30–80 cm high; stems erect, unbranched or branched near base. Leaves linear-lanceolate, 20–40 mm long, (1–)2–5 mm wide, acuminate, margins entire. Inflorescences loose terminal corymbose panicles; pedicels slender, erect, 25–40 mm long. Sepals ovate, 5–8 mm long, acuminate, margins white-membranous and ciliolate; petals obovate, 8–15 mm long, blue or white; anthers white; styles free, stigmas linear, decurrent along inner side of style-branches. Capsule 6–9 mm diam., beaked; seeds 3–5 mm long, brown. Flowers mostly spring and summer.

*CVU, *DunT, *GipP, *Glep, *HNF, *NIS, *VVP. Also naturalised NSW, ACT, Tas. Native to Europe and possibly Asia. Naturalized at a number of localities in Victoria, most notably near Melbourne and on the western basalt plains, formerly widely cultivated in the State, but now rather rarely grown.

Grown around the world as a source of stem-fibre for linen. The seeds are used for stock feed and as an ingredient in bread etc., and as the source for linseed oil.

Source: Jeanes, J.A. (1999). Linaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 4, Cornaceae to Asteraceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
Updated by: Neville Walsh, 2014-09-08
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Rosanae
order Malpighiales
family Linaceae
genus Linum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Linum usitatissimum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Linum usitatissimum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Glenelg Plain present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present introduced
Central Victorian Uplands present introduced
Dundas Tablelands present introduced
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
Highlands-Northern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory