Information on Fairy Flax

Common Name: Fairy Flax
Scientific Name: Linum catharticum
Irish Name: Lus na mban sí
Family Group: Linaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Fairy Flax is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Found in both wet and dry grassland, this annual member of the flax family is different from its cousins in having white flowers.  These little 5-petalled flowers (4mm) have veined petals, each of the five veins leading towards the yellow centre of the little flower.  They are borne on slender stalks, in loose terminal clusters and bloom from May to September, drooping as buds.  The leaves are opposite, narrow and long with one vein.  This is a native plant which belongs to the family Linaceae.  

I first found this plant in the Burren, Co Clare in 1979 and photographed it at Ballyteigue in Co Wexford in 2006. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Flax, Fairy
Flax, Fairy

Also well-known as Purging Flax, the seeds of the flax seed if eaten in quantities can lead to severe diarrhoea.