Linum is a genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of approximately 200 species in the flowering plant
Flowering plant
The flowering plants , also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies...

 family Linaceae
The Linaceae is a family of flowering plants. The family is cosmopolitan, and includes approximately 250 species. There are 14 genera, classified into two subfamilies: Linoideae and Hugonioideae ....

, native to temperate and subtropical
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

 regions of the world. It includes the Common Flax
Flax is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent...

 (L. usitatissimum), the bast fibre
Bast fibre
Bast fibre or skin fibre is plant fibre collected from the phloem or bast surrounding the stem of certain, mainly dicotyledonous, plants. They support the conductive cells of the phloem and provide strength to the stem...

 of which is used to produce linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

 and the seeds to produce linseed oil
Linseed oil
Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, is a clear to yellowish oil obtained from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant . The oil is obtained by cold pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction...


The flowers of most species are blue or yellow, rarely red, white, or pink, and some are heterostylous. There is an average of 6-10 seeds per boll.

Linum species are used as food plants by the larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

e of some Lepidoptera
Lepidoptera is a large order of insects that includes moths and butterflies . It is one of the most widespread and widely recognizable insect orders in the world, encompassing moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies, skipper butterflies, and moth-butterflies...

 species including Cabbage Moth
Cabbage Moth
Note: the Small White species of butterfly is commonly called a "cabbage moth" in North America.The Cabbage Moth is a common European moth of the family Noctuidae....

, The Nutmeg
Nutmeg (moth)
The nutmeg , also known as the clover cutworm, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found throughout Europe although in the north of its range it is a summer migrant, not being able to survive the cold winters.This is a small to medium species with cryptically coloured forewings, varying from...

, Setaceous Hebrew Character
Setaceous Hebrew Character
The Setaceous Hebrew Character is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in the Palearctic ecozone. It is a common species throughout Europe. It is also found in North America, from coast to coast across Canada and the northern United States to western Alaska. It occurs in the Rocky Mountains...

 and Coleophora benedictella
Coleophora is a very large genus of moths of the family Coleophoridae. It contains some 1,350 described species. The genus is represented on all continents, but the majority are found in the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions...

, which feeds exclusively on Linum narbonense.
Several flaxes are cultivated as garden ornamentals, including the blue-flowered species Linum lewisii
Linum lewisii
Linum lewisii is a perennial plant in the family Linaceae, native to western North America from Alaska south to Baja California, and from the Pacific Coast east to the Mississippi River...

, L.