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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Clean Water Fund > Forever Green Initiative > 2018 Forever Green Projects > Breeding perennial flax

Breeding perennial flax for unique ecosystem and high value crop services for Minnesota producers

Principal Investigator: 
Neil Anderson, Professor
Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics
Sponsor: Forever Green Initiative, Clean Water Fund
Award Amount: $139,500

Project Abstract

Flax is regaining attention as a high-value oilseed because of its unusually high content of the omega-3 fat, linolenic acid, which has value in reducing cardiovascular disease risk. All species, perennial or annual, in the genus share this unique oil profile. Likewise, flax is an important ornamental garden plant and cut flower crop. Our long-term goal is to provide MN producers with marketable perennial flax varieties that have acceptable yield, quality, and performance, while providing pollinating insects with foraging options throughout the growing season. Perennial flax will also provide soil stabilization, water quality improvement, and season-long cover, benefits of which are important to stakeholders in MN. Direct domestication of perennial flax from Europe and North America is proposed, as well as an attempt to increase winter hardiness of cultivated flax, which was domesticated from a known perennial species, Linum bienne. Perennial flax has been of interest to stakeholders in the food processing industry, many of whom have shown interest in direct domestication of native Lewis flax, in particular. Our proposed work is a continuation of previous work funded by NCR-SARE and the University of MN, using a recurrent selection approach.

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