Flax - Linum usitatissimum

Flax is an annual herbaceious plant. Characterised by an erect, strong stem, reaching 3 – 10 dm and very branched at the tip, bearing small sessile leaves with a linear-lanceolate blade.

The plant belongs to the Linaceae Family and is generally regarded as a cultivated species, but it can grow wild as a result of cultivation.    

In Spring it adorns the fields with its delicate blue-petalled flowers, either solitary or gathered in inflorescences; the fruit is a 6-9 mm long capsule.  Flax has been grown since ancient times.   

Its seeds are used for several different purposes (industrial, pharmaceutical, etc.) whilst the stem, macerated, beaten and spun, produces the well-known Linen fibre which has been employed as the most important textile in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries, then later for the most part substituted by other natural or synthetic fibres. 

In Italy its cultivation is slowly disappearing.