Flax (lat. Linum usitatissimum) is an annual or biennial herbaceous plant with a short spindle-shaped root. The stem is tall (30-80 cm), erect, round, hairless, overgrown with leaves, in the upper part is a grenade. The leaves are alternately arranged, lanceolate, 2-3 cm long, 2-4 mm wide, hairless, green or gray-green. The leaf has a pointed tip, with a narrowed base at the stalk. The flowers are at the top of the stem on long stalks, located in cymose inflorescences. The calyx and crown are five petals each, coronal light blue, pink or purple, rounded at the top, and wedge-shaped narrowed and yellowish towards the base. The fruit is a globular pod with many seeds, 6-8 mm long. The seeds are up to 5 mm long, up to 2 mm wide, flattened, rounded on one side and narrowed on the other. It is light brown in color, shiny, slimy and oily in taste when bitten, odorless. It blooms from June to August.
It grows wild in fields, along roads, along the edge of the forest; it is a common plant, spreading from the plains to the alpine areas. Flax is grown on fertile soil of temperate climate where it requires a lot of water.
Flax is cut or plucked, and the seeds are separated by threshing. Fatty oil is obtained by squeezing mature seeds. Care should be taken that the seed, when stored for a long time and improperly, does not begin to germinate, because then it can be poisonous.
Flaxseed is one of the most important sources of dried oils. There is evidence that flax was grown for this purpose 6,000 years ago. The oil content in the seed is from 32% to 43%. Flaxseed oil is mainly used for making paints, varnishes, varnishes, linoleum, soft soaps and printing inks. The original linoleum, invented by Frederick Walton in 1863, was named after linseed oil (linum - linen and oleum - oil). For the production of linoleum, oxidized linseed oil was used, which was mixed with crushed cork and dyes. The mixture is pressed on a jute or hemp base and then baked. The obtained material is firm, elastic and waterproof, primarily thanks to the properties of linseed oil. Modern synthetic floor mats are made of plastic polymers, many of which are still obtained from seed oils. Flaxseed oil is used to make some pharmaceuticals. Leftovers after oil extraction are used as animal feed rich in proteins.
Flax is grown commercially, for seed, mainly in Argentina, Uruguay