Phormium tennax:  New Zealand Flax 

Phormium tenax, New Zealand Flax
New Zealand Flax

New Zealand flax is completely unrelated to common flax and linseed. The fibre of it was used by the Maoris for weaving into coarse fabric, ropes, flooring and baskets but doesn’t have the fine quality of linen.

Outside New Zealand Phormium tennax  is grown as a garden plant. It is a perennial plant. The original species is huge growing up to ten feet but there are also many small cultivars and hybrids.

Linum usitatissimum: flax

Linum usitatissimum, common flax
Linum usitatissimum, common flax

Flax which originated in the fertile crescent and was developed in ancient Egypt produces fine fabric, strong supple ropes, webbing and lace.