Friday, June 12, 2009
The Awesome Milkweed...!
I started to post a rant today about people that avoid telling the truth...better known as LIARS!!
However, I realised that I was too angry to be objective. So instead, I want to offer up a bit of information I found in the Old Farmer's Almanac ! I really love this book and all the information it contains!
COMMON MILKWEED (Asclepias syriaca) is the best known of the 100 or so milkweed species native to North America. The name "common" fits the plant well because when not in bloom, it goes pretty much unnoticed, growing humbly along roadsides, in fields, and in wastelands.
Beneath its dull, gray-green exterior, milkweed is full of uncommon surprises. Inside the plant is a sticky white sap that contains a mild poison with a bitter taste that warns away many of the animals and insects that try to eat its tender leaves. Certain insects, including monarch butterfly larvae, are immune to the toxin; by feeding almost exclusively on milkweed leaves, they are able to accumulate enough of the poison in their bodies to make them distasteful to predators.
Native Americans taught early European settlers how to properly prepare and cook the young shoots, leaves, pods, buds, and rosy-pink blossoms so that they could be safely eaten. (Eating milkweed is not recommended today.) The milky white sap was applied topically to remove warts, and the roots were chewed to cure dysentery. Infusions of the roots and leaves were taken to suppress coughs and used to treat typhus fever and asthma. The stem's tough, stringy fibers were twisted into strong twine and rope, or woven into coarse fabric. In milkweed's rough pods was another wonderful surprise. The fluffy white floss, attached to milkweed's flat brown seeds, could be used to stuff pillows, mattresses, and quilts and was carried as tinder to start fires. During World War II, the regular material used to stuff life jackets was in short supply, so milkweed floss was called for as a substitute—it is about six times more buoyant than cork!
Over the years, researchers have investigated growing milkweed for paper making, textiles, and lubricants, and as a substitute for fossil fuels and rubber. Although these experiments were found economically unfeasible at the time, perhaps they should be revisited, given the rising costs of fuel and other materials. In current research, a chemical extracted from the seed is being tested as a pesticide for nematodes. We doubt if this surprisingly useful plant will run out of surprises anytime soon.
– –George and Becky Lohmiller
I think I need to read up on "weeds" a bit more...as I don't know anywhere near the information that I should about wild plants. I'm probably not the only one...ya think?
Now, my friends, lets take our coffee to the patio and sit for a while, OK?