Weed of the Month – Nov 2017


(Linum strictum)

(Photos: C. Schultz; weed growing with other plants; a stem; close-up of top flower head)

There are heaps of differences between the weedy Upright Yellow Flax and the Native Flax (Linum marginale). One is size: the weed is a good bit smaller, growing to shin high. Also, the Upright Yellow Flax is single stemmed, whereas the native flax branches out. As you can see in the photos above, the ‘yellow’ relates to the 5-petalled flowers clustered around the upper part of the stem, and bunched at the top. These are pollinated by insects. The flowers are less than 1cm across, so you can see this means from the middle photo that the leaves are spaced about half a centimeter apart, spaced alternately around the stem. You can also see it means the leaves are a lot longer than they are wide (up to 25mm long by no more than 5mm wide)! One thing you can’t see in the photo is that the leaves have minute teeth along their edges. You can though see a well-defined central vein. The leaves feel rough to the touch, while the whole plant is quite stiff and erect.