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Istle is a variation of the Mexican word ixtle meaning Agave. Istle is used for a variety of long, stiff plant fibers obtained from a variety of agave plants. Similar in characteristics to sisal, istle fibers are used for brushes and twines. High quality brushes are made from Jaumave istle fibers that resemble Animal fibers. Low quality brushes are made with palma istle fibers.

  • Istle, Jaumave (Agave funkiana or Agave heteracantha)
  • Istle, palma or ixtle de palma (Yucca carnerosana): substitute for jute
  • Istle pita (Yucca treculeana: dark cream color fiber
  • Istle tula (Agave lophantha)
  • Lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla): long, fine fibers
  • Zamondoque (Hesperalie funifer): dark brown fiber used from 1914-1918
  • Nolina or bear grass (Nolina microcarpa)
  • Guapilla or huapilla (Agave falcata)

Synonyms and Related Terms

ixtle; Jaumave istle; ixtle de palma; palma fiber; zamondoque; lechuguilla; Mexican fiber; tula; Tampico fiber; Tampico hemp; lechuguilla fiber; nolina; guapilla; huapilla


Properties of Natural Fibers

Resources and Citations

  • G.Cook, Handbook of Textile Fibres:I. Natural Fibres, 5th edition, Merrow Publishing Co., Durham, England, 1984.
  • Thomas Gregory, The Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Reinhold Publishing, New York, 3rd ed., 1942
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 728
  • F. Kidd, Brushmaking Materials, Bristish Brush Manufacturers, London, 1957

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