1. <botany> A plant of the genus Linum, especially. The L. Usitatissimum, which has a single, slender stalk, about a foot and a half high, with blue flowers. The fibre of the bark is used for making thread and cloth, called linen, cambric, lawn, lace, etc. Linseed oil is expressed from the seed.

2. The skin or fibrous part of the flax plant, when broken and cleaned by hatcheling or combing. Earth flax, amianthus.

<botany> New Zealand flax See Flax-plant.

Origin: AS. Fleax; akin to D. Vlas, OHG. Flahs, G. Flachs, and prob. To flechten to braid, plait,m twist, L. Plectere to weave, plicare to fold, Gr. To weave, plait. See Ply.

(01 Mar 1998)

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