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A strong, cordage fiber obtained from the leaves of the flax lily, Phormium tenax, an agave plant native to New Zealand and Argentina. Phormium, or New Zealand flax, has long, soft, white fibers that are used for textiles, rope, twine, and papermaking. It is commercially produced in Ireland, St. Helena, Australia, Japan, South America, and South Africa.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Phormium tenax; New Zealand flax; New Zealand hemp; harakeke lily; formio (Port.);

Other Properties

Cross section circular or polygonal with small lumen

Fiber length = 1.5-3 m (5 - 10 ft)

Additional Information

V.Daniels, "Stabilisation Treatments for Black-Dyed New Zealand Flax" in ICOM Preprints, Lyon, 1999. p. 579-584.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • Identification of Textile Materials, The Textile Institute, Manchester, England, 1985
  • Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, Phyllis G.Tortora, Robert S. Merkel (eds.), Fairchild Publications, New York City, 7th edition, 1996
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 236