Pale Flax (Linum bienne)
Pale Flax (Linum bienne) - photos from June 21st 2015, on a roundabout just outside Frome,
A plant that epitomizes the many transient beauties of midsummer. Driving through the long twilights of that blessed season, one is constantly accompanied by the starry whites of the roadside: Hogweed, Hemlock, Oxeye Daisy, Rough Chervil, Bramble... But a rarer plant like this is seen only by chance. Once I'd taken the photographs, I never saw it again. It retires into fruit.
The plants are so slender and leggy that it's hard to contain them in a photograph.
I'd never noticed these plants before. In the past the species was mainly coastal but it is now spreading and I imagine it could find its own way along the road network to suitably dry verges inland. Or the plants might have originated as part of a "wild seed mix", a popular choice for urban roundabouts nowadays, but this one is out in the countryside and I didn't see any other sign of exotic "wild flowers".
Stems, with closely adpressed leaves.
Flower-colour isn't totally conclusive for distinguishing this species. The 1-3-veined leaves (see close-up below) are another indication. (Cultivated Flax always has 3, Perennial Flax always has 1)