27 Flachs/Leinen (Linum usitatissimum)
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster

Due to the time of year and the life cycle of the plants, this species can no longer be seen in the Botanical Garden anymore.

botanical background


order: Malpighiales

family: Linaceae

genus: Linum

species: Common flax (Linum usitatissimum)

attributes: herbaceous plant up to a meters in height, light blue blossoms, capsules contain the seeds

origin: Turkey to Iran

habitat: moderate and subtropic regions of both hemispheres


in the Bible


And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand. And he dressed him with fine linen robes, and put a gold chain around his neck.

Genesis 41,42


The plant "Common Flax" provides the fibres to produce linen. The Hebrew term from the Old Testament is פֵּשֶׁת (pešæt)

Linen was used for belts, big cloths and garments of priests. It was thought ideal because sweat was considered impure (Ez 44,17-19) and linen is not sweat-inducing.

In order to produce linen, flax was processed as follows. The plant was pulled out of the ground in bunches and dried on the roof tops (Jos 2,6). After breaking them up, single fibres were cut out. First the capsules were divided from the straw with a brush and the stems soaked. Finally a staff was used to lay open the fibres, which were then combed to divide them yet again into smaller fibres.


mentions: several

other text passages (selected): 

Genesis 50,26

Exodus 39,9.18

Leviticus 6,10

Leviticus 16,4

Josua 2,6

Hesekiel 27,7-16

Hesekiel 44,17-18

Luke 23,45

John 20,5.7

Revelation 19,8.14

Luke 16,19

John 19,40

Acts 11,5-9



Dobat, Klaus: Pflanzen der Bibel, Darmstadt 2012, 43-45.

Hepper, F. Nigel: Pflanzenwelt der Bibel. Eine illustrierte Enzyklopädie von F. Nigel Hepper, Stutgart 1992, 166-168.

Riede, Peter: Flachs, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Nov. 2017), URL: https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/anzeigen/details/flachs/ch/8aedc9c83345e4010d0c2747ace035aa/ (abgerufen am 01.05.2023).

Modern King James Version.

© Bibelmuseum Münster
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster