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Textile Information

Flax may well have been the first plant used for fiber. The wild variety, Linum angustitolium, grew as a perennial in many parts of the prehistoric world; it was used by Swiss Lake Dwellers as early as 8000 B.C.E. Linum usitatissimum, the annual variety, was cultivated extensively in the Mediterranean region at least as early as neolithic times and is the variety historically grown throughout the world.

Flax is a bast fiber; that is it is part of the inner bark (phloem) of the stem of a dicotyledonous plant. The bast fibers, which grow as bundles held together by pectins, waxes, and gums, support the plant and transport nutrients. Composed of cellulose (as are all plant fibers), flax is grown for its seed, which supplied oil, as well as for its fiber. Flax grown for its seed is prodomently grown in the United States and Canada, while fiber flax is grown in other parts of the world.



Kathie Richardson
NDSU Library
Fargo, ND 58105

Last updated: 07.04.2008

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The NDSU Library Agriculture Network Information Center Flax Institute of the United States

Flax Institute of the United States