Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Perennial or annual herbs, sometimes suffrutescent, usually glabrous. Leaves simple, usually alternate, narrow, entire, 1 many-nerved; stipules absent or glanduliform. Flowers bisexual in corymbose panicles or in cymes. Sepals 5, entire. Petals 5, contorted, fugacious. Stamens united at base, 5 fertile, alternating with 5 minute staminodes; glands opposite petals, adnate to staminal tube. Ovary 5-carpellary, 5-locular becoming 10-locular by intrusion of incomplete to complete false septa; ovules 2 in each locule, pendulous; styles 5, usually free; stigmas capitate to linear. Fruits capsular, septicidally splitting into 5 simple 2-seeded or ten 1-seeded cocci. Seeds compressed, usually smooth; endosperm scanty; embryo straight.

Mainly in temperate and subtropical regions of N.America, Mediterranean region India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, ca 230 species; 5 in India.

Literature. GIANNASI, D.E. & C.M. ROGERS (1970). Taxonomic significance of floral pigments in Linum (Linaceae). Brittonia 22: 163 - 174. ROGERS, C.M. (1972). The taxonomic significance of the fatty acid content of seeds of Linum. Brittonia 24: 415 - 419. SEETHARAM, A & D. SRINIVASACHAR (1972). Cytomorphological studies in the genus Linum. Cytologia 37: 661 - 671. XAVIER, K.S. & C.M. ROGERS (1963). Pollen morphology as a taxonomic tool in Linum. Rhodora 65: 137 - 145.


1a. Flowers ca 5 mm across, yellow 2
b. Flowers ca 2.5 cm across, blue 3
2a. Capsules equalling sepals 2. Linum mysurense
b. Capsules shorter than sepals 4
3a. Annual herbs; stems usually simple at base 5. Linum usitatissimum
b. Perennial herbs; stems many from base 3. Linum perenne
4a. Pedicels longer than sepals 1. Linum corymbulosum
b. Pedicels about equalling sepals 4. Linum strictum

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