There were a couple of things I'd been confused about for while.
A) the idea of flaxen hair - it seemed from context that they weren't talking about green hair with a tendency to stand on end - and
B) linseeds in wholegrain bread looked nothing like flax seeds from flax bushes.
I only learned very recently that harakeke and wharariki, the plants that I have always known as flax, (Phormium tenax or Phormium cookianum) are quite different from the plant from which linen is obtained (Linum usitatissimum). The common element is the long, tough fibres that can be obtained from both of them.
It can be a damn nuisance in the garden when the leaves wrap around the blades of the lawnmower, but makes an excellent material for making all manner of useful and decorative objects.
Putiputi (flax flowers) are a quick and easy project for people more used to writing policy advice.