Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) is a broadleaf with very small, narrow leaves that are less than an inch long. Stems are branched near the base of the plant, with plants reaching 30 to 36 inches in height. The multiple stems or branches of a flax plant are slender and flexible, dividing at their tips into inflorescences bearing attractive blue flowers. Flowers are mostly self-pollinated, with some cross pollination by insects. New flowers will emerge for a few weeks, each developing into a round seed capsule or boll about one-third inch in diameter. Each capsule contains 4 to 10 seeds; North Dakota tests indicate 6 seeds per capsule is the average. Glossy in appearance, flax seeds have traditionally been brown in color; however, a new variety of flax, Omega, is golden-colored to make it more acceptable in the food market. As a cover crop, flax helps to mobilize phosphorus in the soil and add organic matter.

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