A little-known alternative to trees for the production of paper is kenaf, a leafy, fast-growing annual related to the cotton plant. With a Persian name and ancient historical roots in Africa, the origin of kenaf is shrouded in mystery. One thing is certain: kenaf is both an effective and environmentally-friendly substitute to wood. Yet in spite of an endorsement from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), kenaf has still not found its way into the mainstream market. High-end companies like Kodak, J.C. Penney and the Gap use kenaf paper for catalogues and film, but the vast majority of companies are still using wood-based paper.
It belongs to the hibiscus family. It grows tall like bamboo in warm climates. It can be made into yarn but has more strength than cotton. It's kenaf, and Mary Warnock has spent some time in her laboratory seeing what she can make of it. It turns out that she can make quite a lot.
More here and here.
Thanks to R. Hazan