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About Linen

Biology

Flax is an annual of the family Linaceae. There are over 200 varieties of flax plants that, depending on the regional conditions and climate, range in length (from 25 to 125 cm), shape (sparsely and heavily branched varieties) and maturity periods (from fast-growing varieties spread in the north latitudes and mountainous regions to slower-growing varieties cultivated on irrigated soils in Asia).

Flax blooms in clusters of bluish, navy-blue, and, more seldom, violet, rosy and white flowers that open up at dawn and close and fall at around noon when heat sets in. Each flower blooms for a few hours. Bees collect close to fifteen kg of honey from one hectare of flax field.

Commercially grown flax crops are grouped into two main types - fibre flax and seed flax, the former is generically referred to as long-stalked flax and the latter as crown flax.

Long-stalked flax is grown for fibre and cultivated as a spring crop on primarily silt or clay loams in a moist and warm climate. It is traditionally grown in no more than twenty countries worldwide, mainly in middle Europe and also Egypt, Turkey, China, Argentina and Chile. Long-stalked flax supposedly spread from Russia.

Compared to fibre flax, crown flax tends to require more sunlight and less moisture and is mainly cultivated for linseed oil (yielding up to 52% of linseed oil by weight).