Last week I introduced you to, caesar weed one of the many plants I am passionate about for more than one reason. There is nothing quite like growing your own food but when you can grow plants that produce fiber, harvested and use that plant material to create something, well that’s just icing on the cake.
Many of the plants that produce fiber are edible or have edible pieces so make sure to do some research and find out more about eating or using them for medicinal purposes.
I am going to introduce you another amazing, fiber producing plant and it’s called the Kenaf Hibiscus. Hibiscus is known for it’s beautiful flowers and this one is no different in that regards. While most hibiscus simply produce beautiful flowers a few of them produce fruit and/or fiber.
One of the most well know hibiscus plants that produce a wonderful fruit known as Thai roselle, sorrel and even Florida cranberry. I actually just harvested some of the calyx (pods surrounded by fruit). Though my intention is to discuss kenaf hibiscus I could not miss the opportunity to share this beautiful, tasty treat. The fruit is harvested, dried and boiled along with a few spices like cinnamon, ginger and cloves to form a Caribbean drink, sorrel not be confused with the green leafy vegetable that shares the same name.
The kenaf hibiscus plant is in the same family as cannabis and hemp, so don’t be surprised by the shape of the leaves. This plant does not produce THC and is 100% legal. It grows extremely tall in one season and it’s strength is compared to hemp! The leaves are edible, just as the sorrel leaves are, they have a slightly bitter/sour taste and can be eaten raw or cooked. I like them in salads! The fiber can be extracted from the stalks through the process of water retting which I shared in the first post of this series, so if you didn’t get a chance to read that one please do. Just like caesar weed the fibers can be made into many things, woven bags, shoes, rope, natural trellis/fencing, clothing to name a few. The possibilities are endless.
Are you growing any plants that produce fiber. Have you made anything with natural fibers before? Please share as I am inspired by you just as I hope that I inspire you.
Hibiscus is in the Malvaceae plant family and is a cousin to cotton and okra.
They can grows up to extremely tall heights. A few of mine have reached about 13 ft.
The flowers last for only 1 day before they start closing.
Flowers do not have much of a scent but attract many pollinators.
I hope the you have injoyed this post and look forward to the next one!