(also known as Common Flax or Linseed) is a member of the genus Linum in
the family Linaceae. The New Zealand flax is unrelated. Flax is native
to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was
probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. It was extensively
cultivated in ancient Egypt.
It is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m tall, with
slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20-40
mm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15-25 mm
diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5-9 mm
diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple
pip, 4-7 mm long.
addition to the plant itself, flax may refer to the un-spun fibres of
the flax plant.
Flax is grown both for its seeds and for its fibers.
Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper,
medicines, fishing nets and soap. It is also grown as an ornamental
plant in gardens.