Flax was one of the most important crops to early American farmers and to the economy of our emerging nation. The broad-leaf plant has very small, narrow leaves and multiple slender and flexible stems or branches that divide at their tips into inflorescences bearing attractive blue flowers.
- Packet of flower seeds
- Annual plant Linum usitatissimum
- Made in the USA
- Williamsburg Exclusive!
Flax Flower Seeds should be planted in early spring in full sun. Although late frosts may occur after flax emergence, they are unlikely to damage flax. Seed should be planted 1/2 to 1 inch deep, or up to 1 1/2 inches on coarser soils (such as sandy loams). Broadcast seed and lightly rake in. Matures in 100 days.
Flax is one of the oldest textile fibers. Evidence of its use has been found in the prehistoric lake dwellings of Switzerland. Fine linen fabrics made from flax have been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs. Before the spread of the mechanical cotton gin in the early 1800s, most Americans had a choice of two clothing fibers — wool or linen. Even after the advent of inexpensive cotton, linen fiber from the stems of flax would remain an important source of fiber for clothes and other products.
In addition to being a fiber source, flax was also an important oilseed in America until the mid-1900s. Linseed oil, squeezed out of flax seed, can still be found in most hardware stores and is used as a preservative finish on wood. Despite the valuable characteristics of both linseed oil and linen fiber, flax began to fade from American farms after the development of the petroleum industry.