A material which is composed of thin and continuous strands is known as fiber. A fiber can be of two types: natural fiber and synthetic fiber. The fibers which are obtained from plants and animals are known as natural fibers whereas synthetic fibers are man-made fibers; most of them are prepared from raw materials (petroleum) called as petrochemicals. Examples of natural fibers are: cotton and jute whereas examples of synthetic fibers are: nylon, polyester, etc. Fibers that are obtained from the plants are known as plant fibers. On the other hand fibers that are obtained from the animals are known as animal fibers.
Plants including cotton, jute, flax and hemp are used to obtain plant fibers. Many plant fibers are produced as a field crops. Some of the examples of the plant fibers are given below:
Cotton is a soft fiber that is obtained from cotton plants and grows as a boll. It is mainly grown in regions having black soil and warm conditions. In India cotton is basically grown in Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat etc. It is one of the most commonly used fibers. When cotton plants start flowering, they give flowers of yellowish-white color which turns red in color after few days. Slowly, flowers change into cotton balls.
Jute fiber is obtained only from stem of the jute plants. It is mainly grown in rainy season. Jute mainly grows in regions having alluvial soil which is found in the delta regions of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. In India, jute is basically grown in the states of Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. Jute is sometimes also called as the golden fiber. It is soft, shiny and long fiber with a silky texture. Jute plant is about 3 meters in height and bears yellow flowers in few months. At flowering stage only, jute plants are cut and a good quality fibre is obtained at this stage. The dry leaves of the plants are kept in water for few days. During this time, the liquid skin moves out to separate the fibre and this process is known as retting.
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