The ramie plant has been cultivated in East Asia for fiber since prehistoric times. Ramie is used to make such products as industrial sewing thread, packing materials, fishing nets, household furnishings, clothing, and filter cloths. Ramie fiber, variously known as grass linen or Chinese linen, have been exported from East Asia to the Western Hemisphere since the early 18th century, but commercial production of ramie products did not achieve importance in the West until the 1930s. China leads in the production of ramie and exports mainly to Japan, Germany, France, and the UK.

“Ramie,” entry, The Oxford English Dictionary vol.13, 2nd ed, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989, 156.

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