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What is "Flax" - Definition & Explanation

The plant from the stem of which bast fiber is extracted by retting to produce linen. An erroneous term for linen fiber, particularly in blends.
Flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible. It is stronger than cotton fiber but less elastic. The best grades are used for linen fabrics such as damasks, lace and sheeting. Coarser grades are used for the manufacturing of twine and rope.
Flax is taken from the stalk of the Linum usitaatissimum plant. It is a long, smooth fiber and is cylindrical in shape with a length varying from 6 to 40 inches but averaging between 15 and 25 inches. The color is usually off-white or tan and due to it's natural wax content, flax has excellent luster. It is considered to be the strongest of the vegetable fibers and is highly absorbent, allowing moisture to evaporate with speed. It conducts heat well and can be readily boiled. It is very washable but has poor elasticity and does not easily return to its original shape after creasing. When processed into a fabric it is called linen
The plant from which cellulosic linen fiber is obtained. Linen is used in apparel, accessories, draperies, upholstery, tablecloths, and towels.
The fibre used to make linen textiles.
  • fiber of the flax plant that is made into thread and woven into linen fabric
  • plant of the genus Linum that is cultivated for its seeds and for the fibers of its stem

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