Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wednesday Explorers Club ~ Milkweed

Last month the milkweed pods dried and began to split open. They are filled with hundreds of seeds, each attached to a silky parachute that carries it on the wind. Not all the seeds blow away at once, so we find them clinging to the pods even as snow covers the ground.

The fibers of milkweed fluff are hollow, and trap air. They also have a waxy water-repellent coating. Those properties made it attractive for stuffing life preservers, so during World War II, children collected bags of the fluff.

It makes one wonder: could milkweed fluff be substituted for down as an insulation fiber? Here's a video of one man who's going to test whether it will make his mittens warmer. What could you use milkweed for? Perhaps a vest? Hat? A small pillow?

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