This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Linum Arboreum. Tree Flax
Cal. 5-phyllus. Petala 5. Caps. 5-valvis, 10-locularis. Sem. solitaria.
LINUM arboreum foliis cuneiformibus, caulibus arborescentibus. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 303. Ait. Kew. v. 1. p. 388.
LINUM arboreum. Alp. Exot. 19. t. 13.
Contrary to what we observe in most of the plants of this genus, the present very rare and no less beautiful species of Flax forms (if not a tree, as its name imports) a shrub of the height of several feet, which begins to flower in the green-house in March, and continues to be more or less covered with blossoms to the close of the summer.
It is a native of the Levant, from whence it was introduced to this country in the year 1788, with a profusion of other vegetables, by John Sibthorp, M. D. the present celebrated Professor of Botany in the University of Oxford; who, for the laudable purpose of promoting the science in which he is so eminent, and of enriching the Oxford collection, already rendered most respectable by his unwearied labours, meditates, as we are informed, a second journey into Greece.
Hitherto this plant has produced no seeds in this country, and it is with difficulty increased by cuttings.
Our figure was drawn from a plant which flowered in the spring with Messrs. Grimwood and Co. Kensington.