FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Linum catharticum , Fairy Flax

Linum catharticum; the Fairy Flax is the "little brother" of the (not on Iceland) commercially grown flax (L. usitatissimum) for jute-fibre and linseed oil. It can quickly be overlooked as it is an inconspicuous plant with small (opposite) leaves and white flowers - like so many non-related species (!) of the mustard and pink family so common on Iceland. In fact the flax-family (Linaceae) is considered to be related to the Cranesbill family (Geraniaceae). A characteristic feature is that the bottom part of the petals are greenishly-yellow colored. This can be seen by looking in the flower, appearing as a colored (greenishly-yellow) base of the flower. The distribution of this species on Iceland is patchy. I fotografed this example in the east of Iceland. It is a member of the flax family (Linaceae). The Icelandic name of this species is Villilín.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise

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