Selection of Perennial Flax (Linum spp.) for Yield and Reproductive Traits for the Oilseed Ideotype

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Flaxseed has gained popularity as a health food. Wild, perennial Linum relatives of annual flax (L. usitatissimum) possess similar oil compositions, making them perennial oilseed (OS) alternatives. The objective of this study was to phenotype 25 OS and 17 cut flower (CF) breeding populations with 137 wild Linum species’ accessions in a common garden over three years (Y1–3) to quantify the impact of selection and identify top candidates. This study was intercepted by COVID-19, which prevented the same detailed phenotyping of Y1 from occurring in Y2–3. Traits measured from the perennial flax OS, in comparison with the CF ideotypes: weekly seed germination (Y1), yield per plant (Y1–3), seed weight (Y1–2), shattering (Y1–2), and seed capsule diameter (Y1). In Y1, OS selections had the highest yield per plant, followed by L. austriacum and then CF selections. The 1000 seed weights in Y1 were highest in annual flax, followed by L. grandiflorum and L. baicalense. Seed numbers/capsule were low in Y1–2, possibly due to shattering. Average yield per plant increased across Y1–3 indicating that, once plant establishment had occurred along with the potential for two harvests/year in Y2 onwards, significant OS yield can be realized. Harvest 1 yields were significantly higher than in harvest 2. In Y1–3, OS selections had the highest average seed yield. In Y1, OS and CF populations had smaller seeds, higher shattering, smaller capsule diameters, and lower germination than wild species. Significant breeding efforts are needed to increase perennial flax yield, using the multiple crop ideotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number99
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • analysis of variance (ANOVA)
  • cut flower (CF)
  • oilseed (OS)
  • Tukey’s honestly significant difference (HSD)
  • year (Y)


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