Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. This is called as Agasi/Akshi in Kannada, Jawas/Javas (जवस) or Alashi (अळशी) in Marathi. Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Ethiopia and ancient Egypt. In a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia dyed flax fibers have been found that date to 34,000 BC. New Zealand flax is not related to flax, but was named after it as both plants are used to produce fibers.
Flax is an erect annual plant growing to 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 20–40 mm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 15–25 mm diameter, with five petals; they can also be bright red. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5–9 mm diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple pip, 4–7 mm long.
In addition to referring to the plant itself, the word "flax" may refer to the unspun fibers of the flax plant.