Scarlet Flax
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Scarlet Flax
ntroduced Photo: Tabish
Common name: Scarlet flax, Flowering flax
Botanical name: Linum grandiflorum    Family: Linaceae (Linseed family)
Synonyms: Adenolinum grandiflorum

Scarlet flax may be safely labelled as one of the easiest, showiest and most beautiful of all hardy annuals. The cup-shaped, satiny sheened blooms are a brilliant velvety red and the petals are sometimes outlined in black and appear on long stalks. Each solitary scarlet bloom only lasts about a day, but new blooms are produced serially. Leaves are alternate, 1.5-2.5 cm long, broadly lanceshaped, 3-nerved, entire, stalkless. The plant reseeds itself and is easily started from seed. The seeds glisten because of their high oil content, flax being the source of linseed oil with which linoleum is manufactured, and artists' paints, with scores of industrial uses. L. usitatissum is the species grown commercially for linseed oil, but it can also be obtainted from L. grandiflorum & other flaxes. Scarlet flax is a wildflower that is indigenous to North Africa and Southern Europe, but has become naturalized in other desert areas.

Identification credit: Shaista Ahmad Photographed in Sundar Nursery, Delhi

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