There are many plant fibres available, including those that come from fruits, like coconuts, and grains, like cotton and kapok, but also from plant stalks such as hemp, jute and flax; as well as from leaves, like sisal, and foliar grains like abaca and Manila hemp.
Natural fibre ropes were the only type of rope available for centuries, until the middle of the last century when they were gradually taken over by synthetic ropes. They became less common and were mostly used in old rigging and for decorative purposes. Some polypropylene ropes are produced with a texture and colour similar to some natural ropes.
– Manila hemp is a fibre produced by the abaca, which is the banana tree.
– Sisal: found everywhere in the tropics, and more particularly in Mexico, its leaves provide us with this natural fibre.
– Hemp: the natural fibre of hemp is perhaps the most widely known, probably because it is grown in temperate regions and sometimes for very long periods. This natural fibre is an extract from the stem of the hemp plant, from the Cannabis family.
– Raphia or Raffia is a natural fibre extracted from palm leaves found in Madagascar.
– Jute: this natural fibre is extracted from the stem of the plant of the same name, grown in tropical regions.