Bast Crops

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bast Crops


Plants grown for their bast fiber. They include annual and perennial species containing bast fibers in the stems —for example, fiber flax, hemp, kenaf, jute, ramie, abutilon, kendyr, rattlebox, sesbania, and sida—or in the leaves—for example, agave, New Zealand flax (phormium), Manila hemp, Dracaena, and yucca. Bast crops belong to different families— for example, fiber flax belongs to the family Linaceae, hemp to the family Moraceae, kenaf to the family Malvaceae, and jute to the family Tiliaceae. They also grow in different regions: fiber flax, hemp, abutilon, and sida are temperate zone plants, while the others grow in the tropics, subtropics, and adjacent regions. Jute, hemp, flax, and kenaf are raised for commercial purposes. In 1971, worldwide plantings occupied more than 5 million hectares [ha]. Fiber flax and hemp are the main bast crops grown in the USSR. They covered an area (in millions of ha) of 1.75 in 1965, 1.48 in 1970, and 1.43 in 1971; the total fiber harvest was 553,000, 546,000, and 547,100 tons, respectively. The fiber flax yield was 3.3, 3.6, and 3.9 quintals per ha and that of hemp 2.7, 4.5, and 3.2 quintals per ha, respectively.

Bast fiber and articles made from it are used in many branches of the national economy. The oil from the seeds of bast crops is suitable for food and for industrial purposes. Construction slabs, paper, and insulating materials are made from boon, which is also used for fuel.


Medvedev, P. F. Novye kul’tury SSSR (voloknistye). Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Lubianye kul’tury:Konoplia, kenaf, kanatnik, rami, dzhut, bamiia. Moscow, 1950.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.