Linen is a fabric obtained from the fibres of the flax plant. Linen is descriptive of yarns spun entirely from flax fibres. It is strong, long-lasting and resists rotting in damp climates. It is one of the few textiles that have a greater strength wet rather than dry. It has a long “staple” as compared to cotton and other natural fibres. Flax plants grow abundantly along the banks of the River Nile.
The collective term, “linens”, is still used generically to describe a class of woven and even-knitted bed, bath, and kitchen textiles. The name (linens) is maintained because traditionally, linen was used for many of these items. In the past, the word “linens” also referred to lightweight undergarments, such as shirts, chemises, detachable shirt collars and cuffs, which were historically made almost exclusively out of this fabric.