Linum usitatissimum, also known as common flax seed or linseed, is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fibre crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world. The textiles made from flax are known in the Western countries as linen, and traditionally used for bed sheets, underclothes, and table linen. The oil is known as linseed oil. In addition to referring to the plant itself, the word “flax” may refer to the unspun fibers of the flax plant. The plant species is known only as a cultivated plant, and appears to have been domesticated just once from the wild species Linum bienne, called pale flax.
Flax is thought to have originated in Egypt and was found from the Mediterranean to India. However, it is one of the oldest cultivated plants known and has been found during the excavation of ancient Egyptian tombs.