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Siberian flax: characteristics, care and curiosities

Flax (Linum Usitatissimum) is a plant of the Linaceae family cultivated both for its fiber from which the yarns are obtained and for its nutritious seeds from which the oil is obtained. Although flax has lost some of its value as a commercial fiber crop due to the availability of synthetic fibers, the seed has become popular as a health food and especially for the beautiful flowers it produces, including the one known as the Siberian Linen. That said, it should be added that the latter is an annual herbaceous plant that can reach a height that varies between 20 and 120 cm with thin stems from 2.5 to 4 mm in diameter and with concentrated branches in the upper part. The leaves alternating on the stem are small and lanceolate, while the flowers carried on stems that grow from the tips of the branches have five petals, usually blue in color but sometimes also white or pink. The luxuriant flowering takes place in the period from June to September, and being a very resistant plant it adapts well to the winter climates typical of Siberia.

The cultivation

To grow the Siberian flax plant, the ideal is a temperate climate and possibly in full sun conditions. As far as the water requirement is concerned, it must be said that it tends to be low, while the most suitable soil is that of a calcareous and well-drained nature, an important condition for preventing root rot. Gravel or peat tablets buried about 10 centimeters into the ground can come in handy to maximize the result. On the sidelines, it should also be added that Siberian flax, like most of the specimens belonging to the Linaceae family, requires particular care; in fact, the seeds must be buried by pressing the upper layer slightly. The optimum temperature for germination is 15-20 ° C and the distance between each individual seed must be at least 25cm.

Diseases and treatments

Siberian flax diseases are mainly caused by fungal pathogens, some viruses and a phytoplasma. However, no serious disease is caused by bacteria or nematodes, while fungal pathogens infect almost all Flax plants including seeds. That said, it should be added that there may be differences in the reaction to specific pathogens based on the varieties of each plant. The incidence, severity and importance of diseases vary from region to region in flax-growing areas around the world and even those of the Siberian species are not exempt. Specific phytochemicals available in nurseries and on the best online stores can go a long way in safeguarding this beautiful ornamental plant in the long term.

Curiosity

Flaxseed is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and Omega-3, and is high in a class of phytoestrogens known as Lignans. In addition, Siberian flax is also rich in dietary fiber, as well as proteins, iron, calcium, manganese, thiamine, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Linseed oil derived from the seeds is used in the production of paints, printing inks, linoleum, varnishes and oilcloths. The flowers in a green setting serve to make it very refined regardless of whether it is a flower bed or a border.

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