Seven strains of filamentous fungi and one yeast were isolated from flax that was dew retted in the United States. These filamentous fungi were subcultured to purity and identified, and six appear not to have been reported earlier as isolates from dew-retted flax. Five of the purified U.S. strains, two fungi isolated from flax that was dew retted in Europe, and a laboratory culture of Aspergillus sojae were tested for their ability to ret flax stems. The monocultures were evaluated for the degree of retting, fiber strength, dry weight loss, and tactile response (i.e., feel of softness) as reflected in the retted fiber. Structural modifications of representative samples of the retted flax were assessed by scanning electron microscopy. All of the filamentous fungi were able to carry out some retting, whereas the isolated yeast could not. All organisms produced pectinases when they were cultivated in shake flasks on ball-milled flax as the sole carbon source. Some fungi also produced cellulases, mannanases, and xylanases. Rhizomucor pusillus and Fusarium lateritium were noteworthy as retting organisms by their high level of pectinase activity, ability to attack noncellulosic cell types without attacking cellulose, capacity to penetrate the cuticular surface of the stem, and efficient fiber release from the core. The results indicated that these organisms deserve further study as potential organisms for retting of bast fibers in industrial applications.