Jute, a plant native to Asia. It is grown for the fiber (also called jute) obtained from the inner bark; the fiber is made into coarse fabric and twine. Young shoots of jute are eaten as greens. Jute plants are slender-stemmed annuals 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 m) high, with toothed, lance-shaped leaves and small, yellow flowers. White jute bears spherical seed capsules. A related species, Jew's mallow, or tossa jute, has cylindrical capsules. Jute thrives in rich, moist soil in a warm climate. Most of the world's jute is grown in Asia, mainly China, India, and Bangladesh.
After harvesting, the stems are retted (soaked) in tanks or pools of water to rot the soft bark. The fiber, 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 m) long, is then loosened by beating the stems against the surface of the water. After drying, the fiber is pressed into bales for shipment. The long, flexible fibers are easily spun and, because of their cheapness, are used in burlap fabric, twine, and carpet backing. Jute fiber is less durable than cotton and flax. The lower parts of the stems (called jute butts) provide fibers that can be used to make paper.
White jute is Corchorus capsularis; Jew's mallow, C. olitorius. Jute belongs to the linden family, Tillaceae.