Urtica acuminata Roxb.
Villebrunea integrifolia Gaudich.
Oreocnide integrifolia is an evergreen shrub or tree, growing from 5 - 20 metres tall[
The plant yields a very good quality fibre that is mainly gathered from the wild for local use. The tree is also occasionally cultivated for this fibre[
]. It has been deemed superior to Ramie (Boehmeria nivea), but it seems to have been overlooked and fallen into disuse[
]. This plant seems destined to become one of our most valuable fibre crops in the future, and it deserves much attention[
]. (That note was written in the 19th century, little has happened with the plant since then![
E. Asia - southern China, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia.
Rain forests, valleys, at elevations of 200 - 1,400 metres in southern China[
]. Understorey trees in disturbed wet evergreen forests at elevations between 300 - 1,400 metres in India.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
An understorey tree of wet evergreen forests, it requires a position in dappled shade[
]. Requires a fertile, humus-rich soil[
The tree grows freely and quickly, and coppices readily[
]. It can be coppiced annually to provide a regular supply of stems from which to extract fibre[
Although this species is in the nettle family (Urticaceae), it does not have stinging hairs on the leaves or stems[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required[
A brown fibre is obtained from the stems[
]. Strong, and flexible, it is made into ropes, nets, and coarse cloth[
]. This is one of the strongest fibres produced in India[
The fibre is extracted from shoots less than 12 months old. The outside green skin or bark and a little slimy matter are scraped off, then the ribbons of partly cleaned fibre are stripped from the shoots, the inside of these ribbons is next scraped with a knife so placed in the hand as to allow the edge to rest against the forefinger. The strips are drawn through repeatedly in order to remove the slimy and gummy substances from the inner face. After being cleaned in this way, the ribbons are left to dry in the shade. Wien fully dried they are next steeped in water and wood-ashes for about twenty-four hours, and then boiled in rice water for four hours. The fibre will then be found to be quite free from gum, and may be separated into fine threads[
An alternative method, which results in a coarser fibre suited to making ropes, nets etc, is to take off the ribbons when the shoots are in a half-dry state without first scraping off the outer bark and gum. The inner face is also left coated with the slimy substance. The fibre is then purified it in a coarse way by washing it in lime and then twisting it into twine, or simply dividing up the ribbons and without any preparation twisting these into twine[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.