Since 2013, Québec has been celebrating a new provincial treasure. Previously confused for a weed and often called milkweed, Asclepias plants produce an ecological, renewable and a non-animal insulation material. You will eventually be able to find it in winter coats, parkas, boots, gloves and more.
Testing Milkweed Insulation
Jean-François Tardif, a mountain climbing lover, climbed Everest equipped with milkweed-insulated clothing. He even said he was too hot for the temperatures in which he was climbing (-22 degrees to +25 degrees in the sun).
He tested a one-piece jumpsuit, an anorak and a blanket, all insulated with milkweed. He could only wear the jumpsuit once because it was too hot. In regards to the anorak, Jean-François wore it every day during his expedition. And the blanket? It served him well as a rug on the soil to lessen the cold from the ice.
Asclepias was next tested by the Canadian Coast Guard working on icebreakers. Since this fibre is very warm and water-repellent, it proved to be a perfect candidate to test in the environment they were in.
To compare milkweed to similar insulation, you could say that it largely resembles down in terms of keeping heat in. On the other hand, the greatest advantage of Asclepias is that it is non-animal and comes from a 100% renewable and plant-based source.
It’s water resistant and moreover, it’s less voluminous for the same or even a better insulation. Unlike down, milkweed insulation will conserve its ability to insulate once compressed.
Indispensable for Monarch Butterflies
Did you know that Asclepias is an imperative for the monarch’s survival? In fact, milkweed farming supports the life cycle of the monarch. After a long winter in the mountains of Michoacán in Mexico, the beautiful butterfly returns to Québec and lays its eggs in the milkweeds. As soon as the larvae hatch, they begin to feed off the plants nutritious leaves.
Since the milkweed is only harvested at the end of September, the monarchs will have already departed towards Mexico avoiding any danger!