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Ramie is the official name for textile derived from the Boehmeria Nivea plant, an East Asian relative in the big NETTLE family of Urticaceae.

It looks very much like the European nettle, but without the stings.

It is one of the oldest fiber crop and has been used for at least 6000 years and mainly for fabric production. Even in mummy cloths in Egypt nettle fibres were used during the period 5000–3300 BC.

The last time nettle fabric was produced on industrial scale in Europe, was during WW1 as the Germans ran short on cotton for uniforms.

Nettles are related to hemp and elm.

It is a bast fibre and the part used to make fabric is the stalks. It's the inner fibres which are retrieved for this purpose.

Plants are normally harvested two to three times a year but under good growing conditions can be harvested up to six times per year without use of fertilizers, nor irrigation. 

Ramie is:

  • hardwearing and durable

  • even stronger when wet

  • known especially for its ability to hold its shape

  • less wrinkling (specially compared to linen)

  • silky lustre of the fabric appearance

  • anti-bacterial, meaning not taking on smells easily (means less washing and great for travelling!  Rather stain resistant too.)

  • very soft and skin friendly

  • not expected to shrink more than 1% (so very little)

  • Easy to care for: washing machine, 30 Degrees Celcius and if you feel it needs ironing: medium heat

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