Linseed and flax are grown differently

Both linseed and flax, which are simply different varieties of the same plant, Linum usitatissimum, are traditional crops in the UK but grown for different purposes and the production methods are significantly different too.

Linseed : a traditional farm crop

On the farm linseed is harvested like other farm crops with a combine harvester. Harvesting linseed (flaxseeed) takes place when the the seed-head capsules have dried linseeds inside are and ripe. Combining takes place in dry weather towards the end of August or early September.

Pulling flax 2007 to combine harvesting linseed 2013

Flax Farming

Harvesting flax, for the fibre to make linen is completely different. The whole plant  is pulled before it is fully ripe and left to mature on the field before it is taken away for processing. It used to be pulled by hand but now machines have been developed to pull Flax on an industrial scale. Very little flax is grown in the UK.