Ramie is one of the oldest vegetable fibers and has been used for thousands of years for manufacturing ramie fabrics. The true ramie or ‘China Grass’ is also known as ‘white ramie’ and is the Chinese cultivated plant.
The extraction of the fiber occurs in three stages. First the cortex or bark is removed.This can be done by hand or by machine.This process is called decortication.Second the cortex is scraped to remove most of the outer bark, the parenchyma in the bast layer and some of the gums and pectins. Finally the residual cortex material is washed, dried, and de-gummed to extract the spinnable fiber.Plant has large heart shaped, crenate leaves covered on the underside with white hairs that give it a silvery appearance. Ramie is not as durable as other fibers, and so ramie is most often blended with other fibers for its unique strength and absorbency, luster and dye-affinity. A coarse fiber, ramie fabric is pure white and silk like in appearance.
Ramie is commonly used in tablecloths, napkins, sweaters, shirts, blouses, and suiting and handkerchiefs.The main producers of ramie are China, Brazil, Philippines, India, South Korea and Thailand.