Ramie is one of the oldest fiber crops, having been used for at least six thousand years, and is principally used for fabric production. It is a bast fiber, and the part used is the bark (phloem) of the vegetative stalks. Ramie is normally harvested two to three times a year but under good growing conditions can be harvested up to six times per year. Unlike other bast crops, ramie requires chemical processing to de-gum the fiber. Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibers. It exhibits even greater strength when wet. Ramie fiber is known especially for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkling, and introduce a silky luster to the fabric appearance. It is not as durable as other fibers, and so is usually used as a blend with other fibers such as cotton or wool. It is similar to linen in absorbency, density and microscopic appearance. However it will not dye as well as cotton. Because of its high molecular crystallinity, ramie is stiff and brittle and will break if folded repeatedly in the same place; it lacks resiliency and is low in elasticity and elongation potential.