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Aeschynomene aspera

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A piece of Aeschynomene sp stem. The very thin, reddish brown layer around the stem, is the bark. The whitish interior is wood (that is soft lightweight whitish used-part) . The central, dark dot is a hollow tube, that was pith, but destroyed with ageing of plant.

Aeschynomene aspera is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. It is also known by the names sola, shola (Bengali শোলা) sola pith plant, pith plant, laugauni (Hindi)<ref name=foi>Template:Cite web</ref> or Netti (Tamil) .<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> Pith of low density from this plant is used to make hats known as pith helmets or sola topis.

It is native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It is an aquatic plant and is considered a minor weed of rice paddies across its range.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Used part

From the biological viewpoint, the used part is the wood of the stem (often mistaken as pith, but it is not).<ref>http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Aeschynomene+indica</ref>

Aeschynomene sp. woods is one of the lightest woods in the world.<ref>https://books.google.co.in/books?id=zs_lGeGsuaAC&pg=PA888&dq=Lightest%20wood%20aeschynomene#v=onepage&q=Lightest%20wood%20aeschynomene</ref><ref>http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Aeschynomene+indica</ref><ref>http://patch.com/minnesota/roseville/is-balsa-the-lightest-wood-in-the-world</ref> Aeschynomene woods feel like a piece of thermocol or even lighter, and have a corky texture. It is bright white to off-white (white with a slight reddish or yellowish tinge) in color.

This corky material is used to make some traditional Indian crafts and artworks, and also decorative objects for worship, etc.

craftwork of shola
traditional ornaments of goddess-idol made with shola-base

See also