Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Boehmeria, a genus of the nettle tribe, growing in tropical and subtropical climates, and differing mainly from the nettles in not having stinging hairs. Several of the species yield valuable fibres. B. nivea, the tchou-ma of China, the rhea of Assam, yields the China grass-cloth, a fabric rivalling the best French cambric. It is a perennial shrub, four to six feet high, with heart-shaped leaves covered with silvery-white down on their under surfaces. The inner bark of young stems yields the best fibre, the outer part being coarser but useful for cordage. Rhea fibre has nearly double the tenacity of Russian hemp. It is largely cultivated in India and the Southern United States, and, though susceptible to frost, might be grown in Europe. B. Puya, of Nepaul and Sikkim, with broadly lanceolate leaves, yields Puya fibre, and R. albida is used for textile purposes in the Sandwich Islands.