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Nicéphore Niépce’s work on Asclepias-Milkweed


It is through his son Isidore that we know about one type of project his father worked on: “He was able to extract from the stems of Syria Asclepias (Apocyn or cotton-wool plant) a tow that properly prepared and carded had a whiteness and a fineness so close to cotton that it was difficult to distinguish one from the other.

This weed— even though it originated from a hot country — is so well acclimated in France (although I do not know if it resists winters in northern France), that one shoot suffices to spread it indefinitively; its running roots grow shoots everywhere, in the alleys of a garden, between the cobble stones, and so on.
I still own a child stocking that my mother knitted with this indigenous cotton.

Bas en fibres d'Asclépia
Stockings made from Asclepias-Milkweed.

These stockings (or rather children’s socks) are still today in perfect condition and preciously kept by Ms. Janine Niépce.