Other Names: Perennial flax, Blue flax or Lint
Linum perenne is a slender herbaceous perennial plant growing to 60 cm tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2.5 cm long. The flowers are pale blue, 2–2.5 cm diameter, with five petals.
The English populations are sometimes distinguished as Linum perenne subsp. anglicum and high altitude populations in the Alps as Linum perenne subsp. alpinum. The similar western North American species Linum lewisii is sometimes treated as a subspecies of L. perenne.
Medicinal Uses: Fluid extract of Linum perenne… 10 to 30 drops.
A tincture is also made from the entire fresh plant, 2 or 3 drops in water being given every hour or two for diarrhoea.
Country people boil the fresh herb and take it for rheumatic pains, colds, coughs and dropsy.
The Perennial Flax is a native plant not uncommon in some parts of the country upon calcareous soils. It grows about 2 feet in height and is readily distinguished from the annual kind by its paler flowers and narrower leaves. The rootstock usually throws up many stems. It flowers in July.
This species has been recommended for cultivation as a fibre plant, but it has been little adopted, the fibre being coarser and the seeds smaller than those of the Common Flax.
As the plant will last several years and yields an abundant crop of stems, it might be advantageously grown for paper making.
The seeds contain the same kind of oil as the ordinary species.
The All-Seed or Flax-Seed (Radiola linoides) belongs to the Flax family also; it is a minute annual with very fine, repeatedly forked branches. The leaves are opposite. Flowers in clusters very small, and seeding abundantly. It occurs inland on gravelly and sandy places, but is not common, from the Orkneys to Cornwall, e.g., near St. Ives, on the hills, and in the New Forest, near Lyndhurst.
Culpepper mentions remedies which include ‘Lin-seed,’ more than once – usually in the form of ‘mussilage of Lin-seed’; in one he mentions ‘the seeds of Flax’ and (later in the same prescription) ‘Linseed.’ He says it ‘heats and moistens, helps pains of the breast, coming cold and pleurises, old aches, and stitches, and softens hard swellings.’