The Linaceae or Flax Family
The Linaceae or Flax family is a small family with a world-wide distribution (Eurasia, Africa, Australia and the Americas ).
The Plant List includes over 200 accepted species names. 8 species in the Flax family in Arizona; 19 species in California and 15 species in New Mexico.
Members of this family in the southwest are herbaceous annuals or perennials, often showy with slender stems although some species are woody shrubs, subshrubs and small trees. Common family characteristics are simple leaves, sessile, mostly alternate. sepals and petals occur in 5’s, the sepals are persistent.
The largest genus in this family is Linum, the Flaxes with about 140 species. the genus, Hugonia, the 2nd largest genus, are tropical in distribution and consist of vines, shrubs and trees.
Flax species are versatile and include cultivated flowers, species used for food and/or grains, oils (linseed) and medicinals. Flax, Linum usitatissimum is cultivated for fiber (linen or textiles) and oil.