Linum austriacum

Linum austriacum L. (C and S-Eur.) – A rare, locally more or less naturalized escape from or relic of cultivation. Introduced in the 1990’s on some coal mining spoil heaps in Limburg (Beringen-Mijn, Eisden-Lanklaar, Waterschei, Winterslag, etc.), along with Coreopsis lanceolata and others, and very persisting (Lambinon & al. 2004). Occasionally seen elsewhere, but also obviously initially sown (for instance in Zelzate in 2001, La Louvière in 2013, Willebroek in 2014). An up-to-date overview of Belgian records is available here:

Similar records are available from most neighboring countries (e.g. Lambinon & al. 2004, Frank & John 2007).

Linum austriacum belongs to the L. perenne group, a taxonomically critical species complex (despite the revision of Ockendon 1971). The exact placement of the Belgian populations is uncertain. Most populations correspond rather well with subsp. austriacum, the most widespread subspecies that occurs from Central Europe to Anatolia. However, some plants are robust cultivars and are more or less intermediate between L. austriacum and L. perenne; these may be of hybrid origin (see also Tison & al. 2010, Tison & de Foucault 2014). Claims of genuine L. perenne from Belgium require confirmation.


Selected literature:

Cwiklinskwi E. (1973) The localities of Linum austriacum L. in the province of Szczecin (Poland) (in Polish). Fragm. Flor. Geobot. 19(4): 397-404.

Fernandes R.B. (1967) Notes on Linum perenne group. Feddes Repert. 74: 20-22. 

Frank D. & John H. (2007) Bunte Blumenwiesen – Erhöhung der Biodiversität oder Verstoss gegen Naturschutzrecht? Mitt. florist. Kart. Sachsen-Anhalt 12: 31-45. [available online at:]

Heitz B. (1973) Hétérostylie et spéciation dans le groupe Linum perenne. Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot. Biol. Vég. 14 : 285-406.

Lambinon J., Verloove F. & Dardaine P. (2004) Linum austriacum au Luxembourg, dans le Nord de la France et en Belgique. Dumortiera 83: 14-17. [available online at:]

Meierott L. (1990) Die Linum perenne-Gruppe in Nordbayern. Tuexenia 10: 25-40.

Meyer S.E. & Kitchen S.G. (1994) Life history variation in Blue Flax (Linum perenne: (Linaceae)): seed germination phenology. Amer. J. Bot. 81: 528-535. [available online at:]

Ockendon D.J. (1968) Biosystematic studies in Linum perenne group. New Phytol. 67: 787-813.

Ockendon D.J. (1971) Taxonomy of the Linum perenne group in Europe. Watsonia 8: 205-235. [available online at:]

Pausas J.G. (1998) Linum austriacum L. subsp. collinum Nyman, espècie nova per al País Valencià.. Butll. Inst. Catalana Hist. Nat. 66: 89. [available online at:]

Tison J.-M., Jauzein P., Girerd C. & Espeut M. (2010) Combinaisons et statuts proposés dans la « Flore de France Méditerranéenne Continentale. Biocosme Mésogéen 27: 109-133. [available online at:]

Tison J.-M. & de Foucault B. (coord.) (2014) Flora Gallica. Flore de France. Editions Biotope, Mèze : xx + 1196 p.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith