The scientific name for flax-Linum usitatissimum- reveals a lot about our human relationship to this plant. The “linum” part of this name sounds a lot like “linen,” which is a fabric that has been made from flax for over 3,000 years. The “usitatissimum” part of its name means “of greatest use” in Latin, and that quality also rings true in our relationship to flax. This plant has served not only as a food source and source of linen, but also for the creation of sails on sailing ships, bowstrings, and body armor. Flaxseed is known in many parts of the world as “linseed,” although most of the linseed oil sold in the United States is not food grade and is sold instead for use as a wood finish and preservative.