Current legal regulations and protection methods for genetic plant resources illustrated on species of flax genus (Linum L.)



Linum genus comprises about 200 species but only flax (L. usitatissimum L.) is a cultivated plant of high economic value. Genetic resources of flax genus (Linum L.) are protected by in situ methods in national parks and nature reserves and also ex situ in botanical gardens and gene banks. There are six flax species present in situ, namely: Austrian flax – L. austriacum L. and perrenial flax – L. perenne L. – both anthropophitic species well established in Polish flora and fair flax – L. catharticum L., Carpathian flax – L. extraaxillare Kit., hirsute flax – L. hirsutum L. and golden flax – L. flavum L. – national, well established taxa. Three species are subject to legal protection i.e. L. austriacum L., L. hirsutum L. and L. flavum L. These species belong to 17 species characteristic of Cirsio-Brachypodion pinnati; Festuco-Brometea class, within the xerothermic swards system and are additionally protected as a habitat. Flax genetic resources are protected ex situ in botanical gardens and at the gene bank of the National Centre for Plant Genetic Resources at Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR) in Radzików. In 1982 IHAR appointed the task of running the Linum L. gene collection to the Institute of Natural Fibres. Until the end of 2008 at the Institute of Natural Fibres 1033 accessions of flax had been collected, including 21 wild species. The botanical gardens and IHAR have collected several dozens flax genotypes during field expeditions.
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