- ABACA, or MANILA HEMPA fibre obtained from the leaf stalks of the "musa textilis", a plant in the Philippine Islands, Sumatra, Java and Borneo. It is strong, has great durability, varies from 40-in. to 140-in. in length, yellowish-white in colour, and has a lustrous appearance. It is light, but rather stiff in handle. The yield of the fibre is only about 11/2 per cent of the weight of the green leaves. In India the inner fibres of the leaf stalk are much used for making fine cloths, the outer and coarser fibres being used in the manufacture of matting for floor covering, cordage, canvas, etc. The fibre (fine quality) is also used as weft in some fabrics for upholstery, chiefly on account of its colour and lustre. There are many grades, ranging from fine to coarse, obtained from these several species of banana and pineapple plants. Manila hats are made from these fibres. The fibres are tied end to end and woven without being spun into yarns. It is a tall plant, growing from 16 to 22 feet, and has a stem up to 12-in. diameter. This is one of the most important fibres cultivated in the tropics. Although called Manila Hemp it is quite unlike true hemp. Others names are "Cebu Hemp" and "Davao Hemp" (see textile fibres)
Dictionary of the English textile terms. 2014.