Nature: Cattails’ Down

Cattails Collage Bucky

“Dutch East Indies (in the days before the introduction of man-made fillers, “kapok”, a tropical plant fiber was an important padding in such items as life jackets and mattresses). When the islands fell to the Japanese, our kapok supply was cut off . . . and some form of replacement had to be found immediately.

It was then that a Chicago company began to substitute cattail cotton in furniture cushions and baseballs. Soon afterward, the Navy decided to look into the possibility of using the fuzzy heads of the aquatic weed in life belts and aviation jackets. A wartime water-resistance test demonstrated that-even after 100 hours of submersion-the “swamp down” was capable of maintaining buoyancy. So, cattail fluff, (along with milkweed down), was briefly seen as a “war effort resource”. (source)

fluff shoeacres.com

Cattail Down at Shoeacres.com

dragon wetcanvas.com

Dragon Fly on Cattail Down at Wetcanvas.com

5 Responses to “Nature: Cattails’ Down”

  1. October 25, 2013 at 11:50

    It is also a renewable resource… Is it harvested commercially nowadays?


    • October 25, 2013 at 13:29

      You know I didn’t go to far into it..but I did note sites that appear contemporary touting the abilities to fabric clothing and use parts of the plant for various needs. I would think individuals harvesting for this and that would have little impact on the environment near the water.


  2. 4 Amy
    October 25, 2013 at 09:49



  3. 5 buckytoo
    October 25, 2013 at 08:11

    Very interesting!


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