Flax

DE 21_Natural Fibers_Flax_photo 1

"Flax for the production of linen has a very old tradition in the Saxon regions of Osterzgebirge, Oberlausitz and Vogtland. However, due to the emergence of synthetic fibres and cheap cotton imports, the importance of flax steadily declined until cultivation came to a complete standstill in the 1970s. This process of displacement was also favoured by the lack of further technical development in processing methods. For some years now, the cultivation and utilisation of natural fibres has been gaining in importance again. This is due to advances in technology, which are opening up a product range for domestic fibre plants that goes far beyond the traditional field of application. The desire of many consumers to replace environmentally harmful synthetic materials with natural materials, which is linked to increased environmental awareness, is also fuelling this process. [...] The Saxon State Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is interested in the reintroduction of fibre plant cultivation in the structurally weak foothills and low mountain regions of Saxony and has been supporting this project since 1992 with the "Natural Fibre Flax" funding project. It not only creates favourable conditions for flax cultivation, but also promotes the entire line from cultivation to initial processing and the development of new products." from: Flachs in Sachsen wirtschaftlich und umweltgerecht, Heft 8, 3. Jg 1998 der Schriftenreihe der Sächsischen Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft, published by: Sächsische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (LfL), S.3.

Name of Material in the local and Latin language
Flachs, Faserlein (Linum usitatissimum L. var. vulgare BOENNINGH, Linaceae), Öllein (Linum usitassimum L. Lirina, Festival, Floral, Bingo, LS Koral, Linaceae)
Type of Material
Organic
Commonly Found Locations
Mountainous areas, areas with annual precipitation >650mm with good water supply in early summer, Saxony/Germany: Osterzgebirge, Oberlausitz, Vogtland
Major Industrial Producers or Suppliers
Saxon flax is currently mostly processed in the Voigtsdorf short fibre processing plant for textile and technical short fibre products.

Colour
Flower: lilac, harvest: from the end of July (fibre production), from the end of August (Oil production)

Industrial and Crafts Applications
Textile fabrics, technical products such as insulating materials, composites, moulded parts, geotextiles, Linseed oil
Historical or Cultural Uses
Fibre production, oil
Environmental Impact
Due to flax's intolerance to itself, it is not possible to have long-term crop rotations in the same field, so the risk of monocultures is very low. Often used in organic farming, as these have long crop rotations.
Innovative or Emerging Applications
Research by LaNDER3 network on the use of flax in composite materials, controlled water retting, fibre production, fibre recycling; Sachsen-Leinen e.V. and Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut (STFI) e.V. are also conducting several research projects on the subject of flax.

Extraction Methods
Cultivation, harvesting
Processing Techniques
Harvesting, field retting (drying), corrugating (deseeding), water retting, drying, kinking, swinging, hackling, production of the fibre sliver, production of the linen thread (yarn), further processing in the linen weaving mill; Seeds were processed into oil
Sustainability and Environmental Considerations
Recyclable, renewable raw material