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June 26, 2009 / Bo Mackison

Flax in All its Glory

Common Flax

Common Flax

We saw this field of flax in bloom last year in early June, and so when we passed it this year on our way to the campground, I was a bit surprised to see them in heavy bloom again. The bright blue doesn’t last long and so I photographed the field early Saturday morning. When we were leaving Door County on Sunday afternoon, the field had taken on a decided gray cast. The blue flax bloom was nearly at its end.

common flax

linum usitatissimum Latin for "most useful fiber"

Flax is one of the first plants known to have been used by mankind. Traces of fiber woven from flax have been found in sites dating over 10,000 years ago. Linens spun from flax have also been found in Egyptian tombs. Linen thread is actually spun from the stem of the flax once it has been dried and processed. The cloth made from flax is extremely strong.

Flax oil, commonly known as linseed oil, is also utilitarian. It is used as a component of oilcloth, linoleum, and varnish.


  1. montucky / Jun 26 2009 11:24 pm

    That field is a wonderful sight! I’m always happy to see them bloom, although we don’t have all that many near here.

  2. lynnwiles / Jun 27 2009 4:24 pm

    I love flax. It struggles to grow in my garden. I had no idea that there could be a beautiful field of flax.

  3. ybonesy / Jun 27 2009 9:24 pm

    Beautiful! I grew flax by seed in our old house, and I was surprised by how often it bloomed throughout the summer. I have a bag of seeds to plant at this place in fall.

  4. bookbabie / Jun 28 2009 10:04 am

    How pretty, I didn’t know flax flowered and in my favorite flower color, blue!

  5. Robin / Jun 28 2009 10:48 am

    Beautiful! I love that shade of blue.

  6. Gandalf / Jun 29 2009 7:07 am

    Interesting facts along with the photo. Flax sounds much better than linseed.

  7. gypsy-heart / Jun 30 2009 1:29 pm

    Loved all your latest images and words. I decided to leave you a note here.
    A vegetarian, for the most part, I have flax seed in my diet. I had no idea how pretty the flower (thus fields) were or the other uses for it. Nor the long history of it..
    Thank you for sharing this.

  8. amuirin / Jul 6 2009 1:02 pm

    I remember a former post of yours about flax. It sure is a pretty flower. We’re fans of flax-seeds at home, cus of the omegas. I didn’t know till you posted that first one that they had such a winsome bloom.

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