The Flax Plant

Flax is an annual plant, which when fully grown reaches a height of 50 to 100 cms. When approaching maturity (after 70 to 100 days depending upon weather conditions), blue (vulgare) or white (album) flowers are produced depending on the variety. Generally speaking the blue flowered variety produces fine, good quality fibre whereas the white-flower plant produces stronger but coarser fibre.

The strands of flax fibre are embedded longitudinally in the stalk of the plant, between the outer epidermis and the central woody tissue. The fibre, which is very high in cellulose, is extracted first by "retting" (rotting either by water or dew) and then by "scutching" the stalks.

The characteristics of the fibre are great strength, fineness and durability. The fibre is stronger than cotton and also stronger when wet than dry.

Following the process of retting, the straw is dried and then scutched, a process which by mechanical means breaks down the pith, or "boon", and removes it as completely as possible from the fibre.

Flax Information

A Brief History

The Plant

Uses of Flax

Flax Grading