Genus of the Week
Week of Mar. 2 - 8
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Family: Linaceae: Flaxes and Linseed
Number of Species:approximately 230
Root: Old English "line", referring to the flax fibers.
The genus Linum is of great economic importance because it is the source of both flax fibers and linseed oil (L. usitatissimum). Flax fiber is used to make several products, including linen and stationery, while linseed oil can be found in many paints, varnishes and inks. Other plants of this species are grown as ornamentals or live in wild populations.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Linum species:
- There is a great page from The Center for New Crops and Plant Products at Purdue University which has links to several interesting pages about the many uses of L. usitatissimum.
- The Vascular Plant Image Gallery at Texas A&M University has several images of Linum species, including L. lewisii and L. rigidum (Yellow Flax).
- The University of Hawaii has an image of L. trigynum, also referred to as Yellow Flax.
- The Northern Prairie Science Center has detailed information about L. perenne var. lewisii, a particular variety of Wild Flax.
- For those of you interested in the herbal applications of Linum species:
- Discover some of the purported healing properties of Well-Being.Com. If you are impressed, you can order some for yourself.
- Read more about the potential effects of flaxseed oil in a column called Ask the Naturopath, part of the women.com web site.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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