Fairy Flax

©Northeast Wildlife

Fairy flax

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Scientific name: Linum catharticum
A small and delicate plant of chalk grasslands, Fairy flax can be seen in bloom from May to September - look out for its nodding, white flowers.

Top facts


Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to September


Fairy flax is a delicate annual of dry grasslands, particularly those on chalky soils, sand dunes and grassy heaths. Its small, white flowers bloom on the end of wiry stems from May to September.
It is a low-growing plant.

What to look for

Fairy flax has long, slender, branched stems with opposite pairs of narrow leaves. Its small, white flowers have five petals and appear at the ends of the stems; they droop when they are in bud.

Where to find

Found throughout the UK, but common in Southern England.

Did you know?

Fairy flax is also known as 'Purging flax' and was historically used as a laxative by herbalists.