Flax (Linum usitatissimum), also commonly known as linseed, is a three-foot annual that is grown as an ornamental plant as well as for its fibers, seeds and oil. Flax fibers have been used for textiles dating back to the ancient Egyptians who used flax linens to wrap their mummies. In fact, the name “linen” derives from the same root word as flax’s genus name, “Linum”. Linseed oil is used in paints, varnishes and to make linoleum. Linseed oil can be obtained by cold-pressing the seeds or with the use of solvents. Flax seed is also rich in nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids, lingans and dietary fiber. It is used as cattle feed, but it is also found in most health food stores because of its nutritional contributions to the human diet. Common preparation of flax seed includes eating whole seeds, seed sprouts, ground seeds or baking them into other foods. The fiber is said to be beneficial to the digestive tract, and the seeds contain mucilage that acts as a laxative and supports the digestive system. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory properties. Flax has been investigated for possible benefits with regards to cholesterol levels, diabetes, prostate and breast cancers. While flax is most known for these uses, most people do not realize what a beautiful blue flower it is. It is even the national flower of Belarus. We offer organic brown flax seed.
Growing Information: Flax is an easy-to-grow plant that is best grown in clumps. It is well-suited for container growing as well. Flax prefers a rich soil in full sun. It is easiest to sow your seeds directly outdoors at a depth of 1/8”. Flax does not typically flower in the first year, although you may be able to get it to do so by sowing in the fall for a spring crop. Flax plants will benefit from pruning. The seeds can be harvested after the flowers have bloomed.
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