Flax, Pale

Information on Pale Flax

Common Name: Pale Flax
Scientific Name: Linum bienne
Irish Name: Líon beag
Family Group: Linaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Pale Flax could sometimes be confused with:


Biennial or perennial, this delicate little wildflower has pretty, pale-blue flowers (12-20mm) borne in loose cymes.  These have five, veined petals which drop early, the globular fruit becoming rounded with a short little beak on top (see bottom picture). The flowers bloom in June and July.  The leaves are alternate, narrow, untoothed and pointed with three veins. This plant, which is pollinated by bees and wasps, grows in dry grassland and on neutral or calcareous soil.  It is a native plant belonging to the family Linaceae

I found this tiny little plant growing on the top of an old bridge at Scarawalsh, Co Wexford in 2008 and I photographed it at that time.  The identification was kindly confirmed to me by Dr Darach Lupton, Dip.Hort., BA Hons.(Mod), PhD of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.

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

This species is classed as NEAR THREATENED in the Red Data List of Vascular Plants 2016.

This is a close relative of Linum usitatissimum which has been grown for centuries to make linseed oil and linen, the production of which is believed to have started over 5000 years ago.  The oil is produced from the seeds whereas the fabric is made from the stems of the plant. 

Flax, Pale
Flax, Pale
Flax, Pale
Flax, Pale