Thursday, August 25, 2011

mulberry leaves



With time and patience, the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown, goes the Chinese proverb. Now I'm wondering if the cycle can go 'round another time -- with time and patience, can the mulberry leaf dye that same silk gown?


There's lots to learn about mulberry in addition to its dye potential. It's also a medicinal herbal tree, Morus alba, that I happen to have had growing in my garden for the last 15 years, and well -- I am an herbalist after all -- I see a mulberry leaf infusion in my future. Actually, to come upon M. alba as an herbal medicine is almost like one of those dreams where you discover a new room in your house, only in this case it's my front yard. Where have I been?

A concern for me about sericulture, the realm of silk worms and silk production, was that life as a silk worm wouldn't be so great. But after seeing this video, I think it may be just fine.

If you're squeamish, just keep watching, by the end you'll be okay.

13 comments:

iNd!@nA said...

in my experience, mulberry leaves dye very nicely indeed

Notjustnat said...

Thanks Peggy, life does have purpose. I have seen and touched silk warms in Japan, but to see the whole cycle of it is fascinating - I did used a few mulberry leaves to dyed with in Japan, but I was only playing - Hugs Nat

Nancy said...

This was interesting to watch all at once like this...I've only seen most of the cycle over time (as has every preschool teacher!)
My old house had two big Mulberry trees - I was the go-to gal!!!

handstories said...

this was ewww, cool, ick, amazing...thanks, even the hub was captivated.

woman with wings said...

India, I was hoping that would be the case--thanks for the info.!

woman with wings said...

Nat, I've only seen them once and I remember how LOUD their chewing was! I'm looking forward to dyeing this silk in the photo with mulberry leaves...

woman with wings said...

Nancy, so cool that you've had silk worms -- were you able to retrieve any silk threads then, too?

woman with wings said...

Cindy, I felt the same but I've watched it a few times more closely and think I'm desensitized now! Ha. When they started spinning their threads, well, that's just magical...the little sweethearts...

Nancy said...

Nah - no silk! But that super loud chewing! Ahhh...drives me nuts. They're so funny how they just hang there in midair!

Marie said...

When I was a small child I had a teacher bring in silk worm cocoons and share them with the students who wanted them. We had Mulberry growing near us in this area. I remember I took one home, but I do not remember anything after that.

It is fascinating to see the worm turn into a moth- looking creature. All fuzzy and kinda cute : )

<3

liniecat said...

The moths are quite beautiful and seem to have feathers as feelers?! Hadnt ever seen them before and they struck me as angel like, for some odd reason!
So sad that their lives are spent after birthing and that the worms themselves are boiled and die in the process.
But it is an amazing sequence and magical in so many ways.

woman with wings said...

Marie, a nice memory for you -- the only caterpillars I remember were the kind that people didn't want! I wonder if silk worm cocoons could even withstand the winters we have...

woman with wings said...

Oh, Lyn -- that's what I was worried about, that they weren't allowed a normal life. For some reason, I thought they had left the cocoons before that boiling. Oh, that's very sad. Darn it. Guess this is the Walt Disney version of a silk worm's life?