Linum usitatissimum (Linaceae)
"A bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench, till he may put forth judgment to victory."
Flax is the world’s oldest textile plant. The Hebrew word pishtah refers to the common flax. Linen is made from the stems of this charming blue‑flowered annual, which was an important crop in Egypt and also Canaan (Israel)… The harlot Rahab brought Joshua’s two spies "up to the roof of the house, and hid them with stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof" (Josh.2:6); she later hid them under the flax.
It was the practice to pull up the flax by the roots, tie it into bundles, and soak it in water for several weeks until the outer part decayed. Then by a brushing or combing process the useful fibres were separated from the rest. This was known as "netting." The bundles were then opened and the "netted" stems spread out to dry.
Jewish priests had to wear linen when officiating at sacrifices. "And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches" (Lev.6:10) and, much later, our Lord’s body was wrapped in a linen shroud. (John 19:40)
The Flowers and Fruits of the Bible