Flax has one main leafy stem with many branches at the top. Each branch will flower with a small, light blue flower with five petals. The individual flowers open in the morning, and the petals fall off by noon. The bolls of the flowers usually contain between 6 and 10 small seeds. Although not a common crop in Montana, some farmers will plant flax to break up rotations of other crops. Because flax plants mature at different rates, farmers will often cut the fields into windrows, like hay, and let the plants dry before combining the windrows.
While flax fiber is used in the production of linen and rope, flax in Montana is typically grown for the seed. There is a growing market for flax seed for human consumption, often in cereals and breads. The most common use of flax seed is to press them to extract the seed oil. This oil, called either flaxseed oil or linseed oil, is used for human consumption, as a drying agent in paints, and in other industrial applications. The meal left over after the oil is extracted makes an excellent livestock feed supplement.