Non Conventional Fibres Association

Ramie Fibres

Botanical Information

  • Ramie (Boehmeria nivea L. Gaudich) is one of the valuable bast fibre yielding perennial monoecious plant, belonging to the family of Urticaceae.
  • It is superior to other natural fibres such as cotton, jute, flax, etc. 
  • China initiated the idea of ramie fibre production as it abundantly grows over there.
  • It is commonly known as China Grass in the trade market and Grass Linen or China Linen in some areas.
  • In India, it is known by different regional names such as Rhea, Popah, KhunKoora, Kurkunda, etc.
  • This plant is one of the oldest fibre-producing plants known to man.

Agroclimatic Conditions for Cultivation

  • According to FAO (2013), in 2011, China cultivated ramie plants in 72934 hectares of area, producing 124000 tonnes of fibre. The average produce was about 1700kg/ha.
  • China is the major global producer of ramie fibre contributing to 96.3% of the production worldwide.
  • The leading producers of ramie on a global scale are China, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Brazil . 
  • Lately, India has been cultivating ramie on a wide scale to meet national industrial demand.
  • The northeastern province of India has suitable soil parameters and climatic conditions to cultivate ramie plants.
  • Around 19 different species of ramie plant are collected from the regions of India so far.
  • Regions like the foothills of Himalaya and the Brahmaputra valley of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and the Western ghats have good sources for ramie cultivation.
  • It proliferates in sandy loam soil with a mild acidity level of pH 6 to pH 7.
  • Hot-humid weather conditions with a temperature of 25oC to 31oC.
  • It requires a well distributed rainfall of up to 1500-2000mm for obtaining a good and luxurious quality of ramie fibres .
  • Ramie has vigorous growth under favourable climatic conditions, reaching more than 2m within one month.

Physical & Mechanical Properties

Fibre length 


200 mm

Fibre diameter


10 μm

Length of the ultimate cell


Length to breadth ratio of Ultimate cell



40-65 g/tex

Extension at break


Degree of crystallinity


Chemical Composition












Betelnut palm,  Areca nut, Betel palm,

Table 1. Physical & mechanical properties and chemical composition of areca nut fibres 


  • The longest part of the ramie plant is the unicellular fibre, which is the strongest.
  • It bears highest strength and length, has good durability and absorbency along with excellent lustre.
  • The fibre is twice as strong as cotton and has an improved length-to-breadth ratio.
  • The ramie plant is susceptible to strong wind, waterlogging, and frost conditions. 
  • It exhibits high fibre strength when it absorbs moisture.
  • It is resistant to most of the solvents and abrasions.


  • Ramie fibre has wide ranged application in textile, paper, apparel industry and household goods .
  • China uses this popular fibre for producing women’s dress materials, shirts, suits, and other handicraft products.
  • The coarser fibre is used to make cordages, ropes, twines, and nets .
  • The Korean traditional costume hanbok is made up of ramie fibres and is well known for its fineness.
  • Ramie fibre is blended with cotton to make woven and knitted fabrics. 
  • It is used to make sacks, carpets, handicrafts, papers, various reinforced polymers, gas mantles, fishing nets, and marine packaging, .
  • In Japan, ramie is used to make canvas, mat-edge, suit-cloth, and various other products.
  • It is primarily used to blend with cotton and silk for strength and lustre properties. It is used to create draperies, curtains, upholsteries, towels, filter cloths, etc. 
  • The waste fibre can then be used for manufacturing currency notes and cigarette papers.
  • The woody portion from the bast can be used to produce various bio-degradable products such as plywood, particle board, and fibre board.