Flax (Linum usitatissimum), also known as common flax or linseed, is grown for its oil, which is used as a nutritional supplement and as an ingredient in many wood-finishing products. The fibers also are commonly used to make linen. The Latin species name usitatissimum means “most useful.” The earliest evidence of humans using wild flax as a textile dates to the Upper Paleolithic — 30,000 years ago in the present day Republic of Georgia. Flax is best-suited for alluvial soil, deep loams containing large proportion of organic matter, and is unsuited for heavy clays, and gravelly or dry sandy soils.
Flax is typically grown as a spring crop in cooler regions of North America. Photosyntech has conducted Winter flax research in multiple states in the last several years. Yield results are encouraging; however, at general commodity flax prices economically viable yields have been elusive. Winter flax production in the southern U.S. for higher value direct consumer markets is an open opportunity.