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Jute, also known as Calcutta Hemp, is a fiber obtained from several species of the genus Corchorus of the order Tiliaceæ, and employed in the manufacture of the coarser textiles. The great bulk of the world’s supply is derived from two species, C. capsularis and C. olitorius (Jew’s Mallow), both of which are indigenous to Bengal, India, where from remote times they have been cultivate for economic purposes. The two species are similar in appearance, but may be distinguished by the form of the seed pods, which are nearly spherical in C. capsularis, and long and narrow in C. olitorius. Both plants are herbaceous annuals with straight, slender stalks from 5 to 15 feet in height, branched at the top, and bearing small yellow flowers. The fiber, which is derived from the inner bark, is of a creamy yellow or light buff color and of a silky luster. It spins well, but is not as strong as flax or hemp, and deteriorates rapidly. The young shoots are used as pot herbs. Jute is grown chiefly in Bengal, though it is raised to a limited extent in China, Formosa, and Southern Japan. It can be grown successfully in the South Atlantic and Gulf States of the United States, but lack of mechanical methods for preparing the fiber has prevented its cultivation on an industrial scale. Attempts to naturalize it elsewhere have generally failed. For its most successful cultivation, jute requires a soft, deep soil and a hot, moist atmosphere, alluvial lands being especially adapted to its production. This illustration shows Corchorus capsularis.


John H. Finley ed. Nelson's Perpetual Loose-Leaf Encyclopaedia (vol. 7) (New York, NY: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1917) 48


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