"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Flax and flaxen are words used to describe hair and relate to a pale yellowish gold or pale straw colour.

There is some balderdash written on the Internet. I may be guilty of some of it but in this case I'm thinking of the Wikipedia entry for Flax which says :-
Flax (also known as Light Goldenrod) is a pale yellowish-gray color named after flax seeds. It is similar to the color mustard.

Flax or flaxen is not named after the seeds of the plant Linum usitatissimum but after the plants themselves which are harvested and left to dry in the sun until a pale straw colour. And anyone who uses colours for anything will tell you straight off that pale straw and mustard are worlds apart, the latter being much darker.

Flax is one of the world's oldest cultivated plants. The soft but very strong fibres from the flax are used to create the material linen. The plant is also grown to create linseed oil but the form used for that purpose was evolved separately early on as the best fibre producing plants are not the best for producing high seed yields.

1 comment:

  1. What a coincidence! We bought some flax oil yesterday. Tastes funny, but it's very good for you.