Potential new fiber crop
(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.
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
Prior Research Projects