species of plant
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Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (Linum usitatissimum) is a type of flowering plant.

Linum usitatissimum
Common Flax
Scientific classification
L. usitatissimum
Binomial name
Linum usitatissimum
Flax seeds

The fibres of flax are used to make linen. High-quality paper used in banknotes is also made from flax fibres. An oil (linseed oil) can be made from the dried ripe flax seeds. Flax has been used for a long time in such tasks as making bows and candles.



Flax seed and its oil are nontoxic and are safe for human consumption.[1]

However, like many common foods, flax contains small amounts of cyanogenic glycoside.[2] This is nontoxic when eaten in normal amounts. It may be toxic when eaten in large quantities as with staple foods such as cassava.[3] The small percentage of cyanide can be removed by special processing.[4]


  1. Cheeseman MA (24 August 2009). "GRAS Petition by Flax Canada, Agency Response Letter GRAS Notice No. GRN 000280". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  2. "High alpha-linolenic acid flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum): some nutritional properties in humans". Br J Nutr. 69 (2): 443–53. 1993. doi:10.1079/bjn19930046. PMID 8098222. {{cite journal}}: Cite uses deprecated parameter |authors= (help)
  3. Banea-Mayambu, JP; Tylleskar, T; Gitebo, N; Matadi, N; Gebre-Medhin, M; Rosling, H (1997). "Geographical and seasonal association between linamarin and cyanide exposure from cassava and the upper motor neurone disease konzo in former Zaire". Trop Med Int Health. 2 (12): 1143–51. doi:10.1046/j.1365-3156.1997.d01-215.x. PMID 9438470. S2CID 26846868.
  4. "Flaxseed: a potential source of food, feed and fiber". Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 51 (3): 210–22. 2011. doi:10.1080/10408390903537241. PMID 21390942. S2CID 21452408. {{cite journal}}: Cite uses deprecated parameter |authors= (help)

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