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Linen Linum usitatissimum L. - Industrial plants - Herbaceous crops

Linen Linum usitatissimum L. - Industrial plants - Herbaceous crops


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Class: Dicotyledonae
Subclass: Dialypetaleae
Order: Gruinales
Family: Linaceae
Species: Linum usitatissimum L.

French: Lin; English: Flax; Spanish: Linen; German: Flachs, Lein.

Origin and diffusion

Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) is probably native to the area between the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea; it appears to have been brought to Northern Europe by the Finns and Indo-Europeans to the rest of Europe. Its culture dates back to both Europe and Egypt at least five thousand years ago. In the Middle Ages flax was widely cultivated throughout the European continent and only in the eighteenth century did its decline begin, mainly due to the greater cultivation of other fiber plants; the decline was accentuated during the twentieth century with the advent of synthetic fibers.
Worldwide, the largest flaxseed producer is Canada, followed at a distance by Argentina, India, China and New Zealand. In Europe it is grown in France, Great Britain and Belgium. The cultivation of fiber flax is widespread in some states of the former Soviet Union and China; in Europe, Romania, Poland, France, Holland and Belgium. In Italy, in 1990 only a few hundred hectares were occupied for the production of seed and fiber.
Flax belongs to the Linaceae family, genus Linum, which includes about 200 species including L. usitatissimum L., the only species cultivated for industrial purposes; the other species are of modest interest, with the exception of some used for ornamental purposes.
The Linum usitatissimum L. Species includes numerous forms and the cultivated types are divided into two large groups:
- Fiber linen: includes tall-shaped forms, elastic stem, long and ductile fibers, reduced inflorescence, small blue or sometimes white flowers, small and brown seeds; these shapes prefer coastal environments, fresh, without strong temperature changes;
- Oil flax: includes small-sized, rigid-bearing forms, with short and robust stems, branched at the base, with short and coarse fibers, highly developed inflorescences, blue and sometimes purplish flowers, with larger seeds, brown or reddish; they prefer warm and sunny environments.

Linseed - Linum usitatissimum L. (photo website)

Botanical characters

Flax is a herbaceous plant with a taproot, thin and little branched root, with erect stem, unique or branched in the seed varieties), which rarely exceeds one meter in height; the leaves are sessile or briefly petiolate, whole, narrow, hairless, alternate, rarely opposite. The flowers, solitary or gathered in corymbs, are made up of 5 sepals and 5 petals, usually blue, white or purple taloglia. The fruit is a pentacarpellar capsule and each carpel is bilocular; each lodge contains a seed, of varying color (brown, reddish brown, brown-olive) shining, rich in oil and poor dialburno, elongated, oval. The outermost layer of the integument is formed by polygonal cells which have the property of swelling in water.

Flax flower - Linum usitatissimum L. (photo http://funet.fi)

Environmental needs

The Nordic types, from the temperate-humid areas, are cultivated for the production of fiber; those of warm climates are intended for seed production.
Flax prefers deep, fertile, rather light soils, with a good supply of organic substance and neutral pH; in too humus-rich soils, abundance of nitrogen favors lodging.
The biological cycle lasts 90-100 days in spring sowing types and 180-200 days or more in autumn sowing types. Given the short cycle (in spring sowing), the nutrients must be available in an easily assimilable form. In fiber flax, nitrogen is of considerable importance as it determines its yield and favors the lengthening of the stem and the formation of Liberian bundles. Phosphorus influences the quantity and quality of production, in particular that of the seed, and gives the plant greater rusticity and resistance to adversity. The K helps to increase the fineness of the lint, giving it uniformity and elasticity.

Cultivation technique

Linen can occupy the first place in the rotation; it is advisable not to make the linen happen to itself to avoid soil fatigue. The fiber flax opens the rotation following a meadow, alfalfa or a winter grain, while the seed flax follows a renewal crop.
After performing a deep plowing (about 40 cm), two operations must be carried out to prepare a very fine soil. The sowing takes place from mid-February to the end of April for the spring types, from October to December for the autumn ones, in rows about 10 cm apart (140-180 kg / ha of seed for fiber production and 80-90 kg / ha for seed flax).
The nutrient requirement is about 80-100 kg / ha of nitrogen, 80 kg / ha of phosphorus and as many of potassium.
In the North, the crop usually does not require irrigation; in the South it needs 2-3 irrigation operations.
In the early stages of the cycle it is sensitive to weeds.

Collection and use

Seed flax is collected when the capsules have browned; in fiber linen, the optimal lepoca coincides with the loss of the basal leaves by the stem and when its color from intense green to intense straw yellow. For the production of fiber, the collection takes place using mechanical grubbers, while for the production of oil it is performed with normal combine harvesters.
The yield varies according to the type of crop: for that from fiber from 40 to 60 quintals per hectare of dried straw, of which 5-7 quintals of seed; in oil cultivation, the seed yield can reach 20-25 quintals / hectare.
The commercial fiber derives from the bast fibers of the bark (30-90 cm long), obtained through a manufacturing process which includes: maceration, drying, kneading and grooming. Lint and tow are obtained as by-products of the processing.
Flax seed contains about 35-45% of oil and 5-6% of mucilage; it is used exclusively for the production of colors, paints, printing ink, linoleum. The residual cake (like the residual capsules) is used in zootechnical feeding.

Adversity and pests

Damage can be caused by cold returns and excessive heat; hail can cause lacerations to the stem; strong winds and violent rains can cause lodging.
Among the mycoses we mention: the Rust (Melampsona lini), the Brusone or Svettamento (Fusicladium lini and Asterocystis lini) and the Antractoni (Colletotrichum lini).
Among the insects, the Altic or fleas (Aphthona euphorbiae and Longitarsus parvulus), the Thrips (Thrips lini and Thrips linarius), the Moth (Conchilis epilinana) and the night lepidoptera 8Lycophotia saucia, Phytometra gamma) and nymphalidae (Vanessa) may cause damage. .
The nematode Heterodera radicicola leads to the formation of galls on the roots.


Video: Le lin, bleu, de la fleur à la fibre.. (May 2022).