The Abaca plant and its fiber Manila hemp
Econ Bot 7(3): 195-213
Manila hemp, the best cordage fiber, is produced from the abaca plant, Musa textilis, a relative of the banana. It is native to and was domesticated in the Philippines. Production and trade in the fiber remained a monopoly there until about 1930. All early efforts at growing the plant from seed elsewhere failed to produce good fiber because the seed have low viabilibty and do not reproduce true to the parent plant. Live rootstock planting, standard procedure in the Philippines, was tried elsewhere only after 1920. Over 90% of all abaca still comes from the Philippines, world production in 1951 amounting to about 200,000 tons.