Home Up Personnel Field Tours Funding Sources Related Links


Potential new fiber crop

Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is an annual fiber crop related to cotton and okra that researchers at Western Illinois University are evaluating as a cropping alternative for the region.  Initial research found kenaf grew rapidly, but the plants were unable to produce seed in this area of Illinois.  Research into kenaf's feasiblity is ongoing.  

Traits and uses

Kenaf is a fast-growing plant that may reach a height of 14 feet under ideal conditions.  Kenaf fiber may be used in manufacturing carpet backing, rope, canvas, and car door panels.  Pulp is currently used to make paper products.  


2003 Research Updates

Four kenaf varieties were drilled at 7.5 inch plant spacing on May 14, 2003.  The seedlings emerged in one week's time but suffered chill damage due to unusually cool night temperatures.  The plots were reseeded on June 14 but were unable to reach maturity prior to frost.


Prior Research Projects

bullet2001 Evaluation Trials
bullet 2002 Kenaf Yield Trials

Related Links

bulletAmerican Kenaf Society
bulletOmni-Ventures Inc.
bulletKenaf Industries of South Texas
bulletVision Paper
bulletThe Jupiter Seed Company and D.B.M. Farms, Inc.

Kenaf Articles

bulletA Quieter Car Ride With Kenaf - July 3, 2002, USDA Agricultural Research Service
bulletKenaf Shows Potential as a Finishing Diet for Lambs - December 17, 2001, USDA Agricultural Research Service
bullet Kenaf: an Emerging New Crop Industry by Charles S. Taylor, 1993
bullet Kenaf: NewCrop Fact Sheet by Charles S. Taylor, 1995
bulletNew Uses for Kenaf by Linda McGraw, 2000

Back to top


2012 All photographs and content included at this website are protected by Western Illinois University. 

  Comments concerning this web site may be directed to (309-298-1251).

Last revised: October 19, 2012