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The primary outer bast fibers in the phloem tissues surrounding the hollow woody core of hemp stalks is similar to bark on a tree. These long, strong fibers surround the hemp stalk and are low in cell binding lignin.

The bast fibers have properties similar to other fiber crops like flax. The bast fibers are known for their length, strength, durability, absorbency, anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties.

The core, or woody part of the stem, contains the hurd which is high in cellulose. Hurd can be up to twice as absorbent as wood shavings, making it an excellent animal bedding and garden mulch. It can be easily blended with lime to create a strong yet lightweight concrete or plaster (hempcrete). It is biodegradable and possesses anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties.