Fashion: Material: Natural
Cottonwood cotton   (+3)  [vote for, against]
Make clothing, fill comforters and pillows with cottonwood fibers.

Near where I live, there are stands of large cottonwood trees. One unique property of the cottonwood at this time of year is that it sends forth its seeds into the environment by means of a small puff of a cotton-like material which wafts gently on the breeze. These puffs contain the seeds and get blown all over the place, often massing in great clouds in places like parking lots and major thoroughfares. Quite often you will see someone's front lawn become absolutely white with the little buggers if they live especially close to a grove of the trees.

What I propose is to install large nets near each area infested with these cottonwoods to collect the cottony puffs for commercial use. The nets would only be deployed during the height of the seed season and would be far from 100% efficient so there would always be some seeds escaping to continue the spread of the genus. If done on a large enough scale we could create many jobs in areas where growing cotton plants is not feasible, and we would reduce the annoying and dangerous drifts of blowing clouds of cottonwood seeds on our streets. Cottonwood pillow fight anyone?
-- Canuck, Jun 15 2003

spinning cottonwood http://www.suite101...m/fiber_arts/109054
yuck. [footzilla, Nov 02 2005]

Dear Canuck,
I recently received a lovely throw pillow from a friend filled with cottonwood seed down. The pillow itself is very soft and confortable and I have enjoyed it very much.
Only recently a guest spilled her drink on my pillow and I tried to have it cleaned. The pillow went completely flat and now I have throw squat. What should I do about this problem?
Flattened in Fargo
-- k_sra, Jun 15 2003

Westvaco has a number of huge cottonwood plantations. They've got one in Missouri with five million trees. The wood is ground into fiber for paper, but the seeds -- I dunno.
-- ldischler, Jun 15 2003

Silky airborne seeds produced in the large pods of the Floss Silk Tree are sometimes used in life preservers and as pillow fillers.
-- thumbwax, Jun 15 2003

k_sra, phone up someone in Kansas or Nebraksa. The cottonwood is the state tree for both. Maybe they have an answer. All I can suggest is to stop serving klutzy guests their drinks around your valued possessions. Sorry!
-- Canuck, Jun 17 2003

The air is full of more than just cottonwood here. We also have our yearly infestation of Canadian soldier flies. I would like to see them used as sacking sometime!
-- k_sra, Jun 17 2003

Could do the same with willow fluff as well if it worked. I thought the reason why cotton works so well as a textile is that it's fibres are relatively long. If the cottonwood fibres are v. short this may not work as well as you think.
-- squeak, Jun 17 2003

[k-sra] - one option would be to install large nets near areas infested with cottonwoods and collect the cottony puffs to refresh your pillow stuffing. Another option would be to partially bury your now moistened pillow to determine if a grove of cottonwoods will sprout, or if in fact it was stuffed with artificial cottonwood seeds. Another option would be to restuff the pillow using hair you collect from public bathrooms and present it to the clumsy guest as a gift.
-- bungston, Jun 17 2003

Not for the allergic.
-- Cedar Park, Jun 17 2003

[k_sra] Train the soldier flies to catch cotton tree seeds. That way you don't have to put up nets for the seeds and the flies are too busy to bother you.
-- kbecker, Jun 17 2003

bungston, I think I speak for all of us when I say "EWWW!"

I was driving in what looked like a snowstorm today, but it was just more cottonwood. The people in the car ahead of me rolled up their windows really fast, but I knew if I left mine open the puffs would just get blown right back out again. Besides, it's not damp enough inside my vehicle for the seeds to germinate. The most important thing to remember is do not inhale while driving through a cloud of cottonwood cotton. I did that once and I now have a small tree growing out of my left nostril. Now I only date arborists and tree huggers.
-- Canuck, Jun 18 2003

...and beavers.
-- Shz, Jun 18 2003

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