Sunday, April 8, 2012

common flax ~ 04/08/12 ~ Carmel Highlands

common flax / linseed
Linum usitatissimum
for more information click here, here, and here

I really wanted this to be the native Lewis' Flax / western blue flax (Linum lewisii); however after looking at numerous pictures, the flower face and the leaves just didn't seem right to me. The newly designed Jepson eFlora descriptions for L. usitatissimum and L. lewisii are as confusing as usual for a novice like me, but compared to the 1993 version, the maps are very impressive with updates thanks to Joshua R. McDill. So, this widely naturalized common flax from eastern Mediterranean to India is my best guess. The flowers were sparsely spread around the paths in the orchard. Each stem was about knee to thigh high; I'm short, so maybe about 25 inches or so. It's a pretty delicate flower.

I must confess to how I happened to discover what kind of flower this is. As I was looking in the neighbor's trash bin for plastic containers (yogurt, hummus, salsa...) for my spring repotting, I found one of those lavender eye pillows. Since I wanted to used the nice silk fabric for another project, I emptied out the contents. There were funny looking flat brown seeds mixed in with the dried lavender blooms. Of course, I looked it up online and discovered flax's many uses. I now scoop a little bit of the mix into an old tied stocking and toss it into the occasional bath water. My homemade bath bag smells nice and seriously softens my skin. Eh, what a motley set of discoveries from simply going through trash.


randomtruth said...

Yah, that's looking a little small for lewisii. It's a big, bold mountain species.

Jeannette said...

I never would have figured you for a dumpster diver...recycling really is an art.

camissonia said...

A great story, Katie! I never thought of recycling used plastic containers for potting plants before - that is, not until I read a post on Sue Langley's blog over at Sierra Foothill Garden in which she was using those plastic salad/produce containers to grow seedlings in. What an awesome idea, since they already have a built in "lid" to cover the container with, which helps the planting medium retain heat and moisture. We should all think twice before we throw stuff out!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Wow, those really are big and bold. Thanks, Ken!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Jeannette, oh boy, do I have stories of things I've found in dumpsters through the years! Our new neighbors don't know about recycling. I'm tempted to give them a copy of WM's list of recyclables.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Arleen, I'm starting to become a glass and plastic container hoarder. It's getting out of hand. Since I'm too lazy to do canning, I freeze my own tomato sauces in reused glass jars. Yogurt containers with lids and tiny cut slits are great for holding cuttings for raising young caterpillars - they can't swim, so the lids keep them from drowning. I'll have to check out Sue's posts. I'm so behind on blog reading. Hope you're well!