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Thursday - May 24, 2012

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Medicinal Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Fiber and dye plants at the Wildflower Center from Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Julie Marcus


When I visited the Wildflower Center recently I noticed a garden labeled as containing fiber and dye plants, but the individual plants and their uses were not all labeled. I would be very interested to know what all the plants were and their fiber and dye applications. There was a variety of flax, for example - is the native variety ever made into linen as European flax is? The goldenrod I'm guessing was included as a dye plant, but there was also Mexican Hat and I'd like to know what dye or fiber-producing application that has. Also Indian Blanket - what does that do?


Very kindly provided to Mr. Smarty Plant by Julie Marcus, on our Horticultural Staff, here is a list of what is presently in our Fiber and Dye Plants garden display. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn about its growing conditions, etc. Often, under Benefits on that page, medicinal or edibility will be discussed. Go down that webpage to the bottom, under Additional Resources, and click on "Google:Search Google for (plant name)." This will give you pages and pages of possible references on the uses of the plants.

Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm)

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel)

Abutilon fruticosum (Indian mallow)

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (Four-nerve daisy)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink evening primrose)

Solidago nemoralis (Gray goldenrod)

Glandularia bipinnatifida (Purple prairie verbena)

Linum lewisii (Wild blue flax)

Dasylirion wheeleri (Common sotol)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy)

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower)

Clematis drummondii (Drummond's clematis)

As an example, you asked about the use of Linum lewisii (Wild blue flax) for fiber. Turns out that another species of the genus Linum, Linum usitatatissum, is the one used for fibre. This article from Purdue will tell you many different uses of the plant for medicinal, edibilty, and fiber. It will also tell you that the species is native from the eastern Meditteranean to India, and was used by many ancient cultures. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America, but also to the areas where they grow natively, so that particular Linum will not be found in our Native Plant Database. We found no indication that our native flax had any fiber uses.


From the Image Gallery

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Indian mallow
Abutilon fruticosum

Four-nerve daisy
Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa

Berlandier's sundrops
Calylophus berlandieri

Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa

Purple prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida

Wild blue flax
Linum lewisii

Common sotol
Dasylirion wheeleri

Asclepias tuberosa

Engelmann's daisy
Engelmannia peristenia

Maximilian sunflower
Helianthus maximiliani

Old man's beard
Clematis drummondii

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