Linseed or flax (
Linum usitatissimum L.) is an annual herbaceous, with a vegetative cycle of about 4 months and belong to the Linaceae family. Up to 60 cm tall, it has an erect and very fragile trunk, branched at the ends with tender lanceolate leaves. The flowers are big, pure pale blue, with five petals. The fruits are round, dry capsules containing several glossy brown-yellow seeds depending on varietes. The root is a short taproot. Linseed easily grows in temperate regions of the world and it has been traditionally cultivated in Ethiopia and Egypt.
Linseed is cultivated as a food and fiber crop. It is possible to gain textiles, paper, medicines, cordage from different parts of the plant. From the seeds, edible flour and oil are produced and used as an excellent nutritional supplement, as ingredient in many wood-finishing products and within paints and varnishes industry. Linseed is also utilized by cosmetic industry as an ingredient for hair care balm and soaps. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.