Linum usitatissimum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaLinaceaeLinumLinum usitatissimum


A robust annual found on road verges, rubbish tips and waste ground and locally, rather surprisingly, on stone reservoir banks. It is also a moderately frequent bird-seed alien. Lowland.



World Distribution

Originated in cultivation; perhaps derived by selection from L. bienne.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 804

Life form information

Height (cm): 72

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Therophyte (annual land plant)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 918

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 28

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 6

Weighted Changed Factor: 80

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Thirsk J
1997.  Alternative agriculture.
Zohary D, Hopf M
2000.  Domestication of plants in the Old World, edn 3.