Fibers from Nature -1

  • parul parul

I, Aman Arjel  of SD College, Chandigarh could never imagine, sample collection for foldscoping could lead me to a summer vacation project on fibers of biological origin. It all happened by chance. Thanks to my buddy Kanwar Pal Singh who noticed Calotropis fruit – a follicle (which our Botany teacher told) and chose to see it through a foldscope.

[caption id=”attachment_40286″ align=”aligncenter” width=”169″]          Calotropis procera     [/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_40287″ align=”aligncenter” width=”169″] Mature fruit of Calotropis – follicle[/caption]

Calotropis procera, commonly called AK is a weed of North India. On plucking its parts, a milky latex is oozed.  On removing the outer green covering, we noticed a network-like structure, which was mounted on a slide using cellotape and foldscoped. It appeared like a membranous structure with vein-like demarcations on it. We removed it to see scale-like structures as gills of a fish. Our teacher told us these were its seeds. On piercing through the seeds we saw tufts of shiny hair which through a foldscope appeared glistening fibers.


Opened fruit on peeling the showed rough coarse mesh

Mesh as seen through a foldscope

Seeds removed to see tufts of silky fibres


Fibres of Calotropis fruit as viewed with foldscope

I surfed through the literature and came across an important finding, which changed my fun with foldscopy into a meaningful project. These fibres from fruit of Calotropis procera are used as a fibre in African drylands.

Nature is great. A milk-weed of medicinal importance can be more than that – a cash crop for livelihood. I was reminded of my late grandmother –“in nature nothing is waste”.

Thanks Manu the great foldscope man








This article and its reviews are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and redistribution in any medium, provided that the original author and source are credited.