Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, family Malvaceae.

Jute is one of the cheapest natural fibers, and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials, cellulose (major component of plant fiber) and lignin (major components wood fiber). It is thus a lignocelluloses fiber that is partially a textile fiber and partially wood. It falls into the bast fiber category (fiber collected from bast or skin of the plant) along with Kenaf, Industrial Hemp, Flax (Linen), Ramie, etc. The industrial term for Jute fiber is Raw Jute.

Jute fiber is often called hessian, jute fabrics are also called hessian cloth, and jute sacks are called gunny bags in some European countries. The fabric made from jute is popularly known as burlap in North America.

After the procurement of jute fiber through the Retting Process, jute is graded (rated) according to its color, strength, and fiber length. The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1-4 meters (3-12 feet) long. Jute is pressed into bales for shipment to manufacturers. From there, a typical processing sequence may include cutting, carding, drawing, spinning, reeling, plying, and twisting.