Ramie

Ramie (Boehmeria nivea) is one of the oldest fiber crops, which is used for at least six thousand years, basically used for fabric production. It is a bast fiber, and the part used is the bark (phloem) of the vegetative stalks. Ramie is normally harvested two to three times a year but under good growing conditions can be harvested up to six times per year. It is a perennial producing many stalks, each growing from 1.9 to 2.4 m (3 to 8 feet) high. The leaves, growing on the upper portion of the stalk, are somewhat heart-shaped with serrated edges.

Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibers. It exhibits even greater strength when wet. Ramie fiber is known especially for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkling, and introduce a silky lustre to the fabric appearance. It is not as durable as other fibers, and so is usually used as a blend with other fibers such as cotton or wool. It is similar to linen in absorbency, density and microscopic appearance. However it will not dye as well as cotton. Because of its high molecular crystallinity, ramie is stiff and brittle and will break if folded repeatedly in the same place; it lacks resiliency and is low in elasticity and elongation potential

It is used to make products as industrial sewing thread, packing materials, fishing nets, and filter cloths. It is also made into fabrics for household furnishings and clothing, frequently in blends with other textile fibres. Shorter fibres and waste are used in paper manufacture. Ramie ribbon is used in fine bookbinding as a substitute for traditional linen tape. China leads in the production of ramie and exports mainly to Japan and Europe. Other producers include Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Brazil.

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