(Linum Virginianum) Flax family
FlowersYellow, about in. across, each from a leaf axil, scattered along the slender branches. Sepals, 5 ; 5 petals, 5 stamens. Stem : 1 to 2 ft. high, branching, leafy. Leaves : Alternate, seated on the stem; small, oblong, or lance-shaped, 1 nerved.
Preferred HabitatDry woodlands and borders ; shady places.
DistributionNew England to Georgia.
Certainly in the Atlantic States this is the commonest of its slender, dainty tribe ; but in bogs and swamps farther southward and westward to Texas the Ridged Yellow Flax (L. striatum), with leaves arranged opposite each other up to the branches and an angled stem so sticky it “adheres to paper in which it is dried,” takes its place.
” Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,”
wrote Longfellow, as if blue flax were a familiar sight on this side of the Atlantic. The charming little European plant (L. usitatissimum), which has furnished the fibre for linen and the oily seeds for poultices from time immemorial, is only a fugitive from cultivation here. Unhappily, it is rarely met with along the roadsides and railways as it struggles to gain a foothold in our waste places. Possibly Longfellow had in mind the blue toad flax.