The following points highlight the five main types of fibre plants. The types are: 1. Cotton 2. Jute 3. Sunnhemp 4. Hemp 5. Flax.
Type # 1. Cotton:
Gossypium sp. (G. arboreum, G. barbadense, G. berbaceum and G. hirsutum).
1. It is the chief fibre plant which supplies more than 70% of the world consumption of fibres.
2. Fibres occur on the seeds in the form of flattened, twisted and tubular hairs (Fig. 77).
3. Raw cotton consists of cellulose (94%), protein (1.3%), pectic substances (0.9% to 1.2%), water (0.6%), sugar (0.3%) and some pigment traces.
4. Chief use of the cotton is in the textile industry. Other uses include stuffing of pillows, cushions, and also in rubber tyre fabrics.
5. Short fibres, called linters or fuzz, are used for superior acetates and viscose rayons, cellulose ethers and esters, and nitrocellulose lacquers.
6. Hull, the outer covering of cotton seeds, is used for cattle feeding, fertilizers, fillers in plastics, and manufacture of insulating materials.
7. A most important semidrying oil (cotton seed oil) is obtained from the seeds of cotton. It is used as a cooking oil. Other uses of this oil include in the preparation of soaps, paints and varnishes, washing powders, artificial leather, glycerine, nitroglycerin, etc.
8. Seed cake is used as fertilizer and as cattle feed.
9. Gossypium roots are used in some fevers.
10. Its seeds are used in diseases like gonorrhoea, catarrh and gleet.
11. Leaf juice of G. berbaceum is used in scorpion and snake bites.
12. Cotton fibre is also used in paper industry, specially in preparing fine quality paper.
Type # 2. Jute (Hindi – Pat or Titapai):
Corcborus capsularis, C. olitorius.
1. It is a chief fibre-yielding annual shrub.
2. Fibres are obtained from the stem of two species, i.e., C. capsularis and C. olitorius.
3. It is a bast fibre, obtained from the secondary phloem by the process of retting.
4. Jute is cultivated in West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Bihar and U.P.
5. Jute fibre is used in making carpets, coarse material, twine, gunny bags, paper and many similar articles.
6. Jute forms the base of linoleum and wool carpet industry.
7. High quality grease-proof paper is prepared from the fibres of jute sticks. It is used commonly is confectionery industry for wrapping greasy materials.
8. Dried leaves of C. capsularis are also used as a remedy for dysentry.
9. Besides India, Bangladesh is also a chief jute- producing country of the world.
Crotalaria juncea L.
1. This tall shrub is cultivated throughout India, particularly in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and U.P.
2. The valuable fibre is obtained from its long stem.
3- The fibre is light coloured, strong, thick and very durable.
4. The fibre is used for twine, fishing nets, mattings, cot stringing, bags, ropes and coarse canvas.
5. Fibre is particularly suitable for cigarette paper and high quality tissue paper, mainly because of its high cellulose and low ash content.
Type # 4. Hemp (Hindi – Bhaang, Ganja and Charas):
Cannabis saliva L.
1. It is an annual plant with grooved stem and palmately divided leaves (Fig. 78).
2. Plants are dioecious, and yield three products namely bast fibre from its stem, oil from its seeds, and narcotics (Bhaang, Charas and Ganja) from its leaves and flowers.
3. The fibre is long, strong and durable but lacks flexibility and elasticity, and is used for the manufacture of ropes, twine, carpets, bags, nets, etc. Finer fibres are produced from male plants, while its female plants produce coarse fibres.
4. Oil of hemp is obtained from its seeds. It is used in making paints, varnishes and soft soap.
5. Narcotic substances such as Bhaang, Ganja and Charas are obtained from various parts of this plant:
Bhaang or Marijuana:
It is an infusion of flowering shoots and dried leaves of both wild and cultivated male and female plants. It is taken in the form of a drink.
It is a resinuous exudation of aerial parts, i.e. twigs and bark. The drug is used for smoking.
It is obtained from dried unfertilized female inflorescences. Similar of Charas, it is also used for smoking.
6. The resin obtained from leaves and stalks, and particularly from the bracts of the female flowers is called “hashish”.
7. Hashish is an intoxicating liquor which causes criminal fanaticism, eroticum and srupidness.
8. Drugs obtained from hemp are also used as sedative, analgesic, stomachic and antispasmodic.
Type # 5. Flax (Hindi – Alsi):
Linum usitatissimum L.
1. This valuable fiber plant is much superior to cotton in quality, and provides a finer fabric.
2. In India, it is grown in U.P., M.P., Bihar, Rajasthan and Maharashtra as an oilseed crop.
3. Fibers of flax are obtained from its stem.
4. Fibers are remarkable for their great tensile strength, length of staple, fineness and durability. They are used in the manufacture of linen cloth, canvas, carpets, threads, strong twine, cigarette paper, finest writing paper, etc.
5. Oil obtained from its seeds is used for preparing varnish, paints, printers ink, soft soap, etc.
6. Oil is used for edible purposes. It is also used in lubricants, greases, polishes, etc.
7. Oilcake is a valuable cattle feed and also used as manure.
8. Oil is a good laxative for cattle and horses.
9. A poultice of crushed seeds is also useful on ulcers, inflammations, etc.