Screw pine is a large plant with sword shaped leaves and has thorns on the margins and it is largely found in Kerala. In Kerala people used to plant screw pine along the borders of their property so that it gives security as the long leaf has thorns on three angles and it becomes difficult to walk and cross between the leaves and it prevents soil erosion. And any time a natural green wall is beautiful!
The root system of the plant gives the plant the ability to protect banks of waterbodies from erosion and it enhances the water holding capacity of the soil. Screw pine also protect many organisms like fish and many fishes consider screw pine as ideal breeding sites and it is ecologically called as a keystone species.
Screwpine mat weaving
The tradition of screw pine leaf weaving has a rich history, it was once a means of living for many people in regions like Karunagappally, Thazhava, Kodungallur, Mavelikkara etc…The women in these region mastered the art. They alone and in groups weave mats and they used to sell those in the evening markets. Many lived their lives with dignity with the help of this craft. And the demand was high as this was the only affordable means of bedding for many. It was a tradition to buy screwpine mats prior to wedding and on the arrival of a newborn.
The preparation and and making the leaves ready for weaving in a long and tedious process. The leaves are carefully cut from the plant with knife, if the person is not careful enough they will hurt themselves and many times they get the pricks. They remove the thorns with a thin and strong fiber of coconut leaves. If you get a chance just observe the art o
f making the leaves thorn free, definitely need patients.
The leaves are then dried and cooked to make it flexible and ready for weaving and the weaving process will start. Then each strand is given a better finishing by scratching it with a knife like object. It is kind of cross pattern one horizontal and other vertical and it is followed all over. The sides of these will be interlocked with thinner screw pine leaves.
Now that we should be happy the artisans are making bags, jewellery boxes, small and big containers etc… along with baby mats, normal mats. When we look around for green living, there are numerous beautiful options around us . And many creative people are striving everyday for our comforts.
And in Kerala people believe crawling in the screwpine mats will give strength for babies. And many people buy these mats when babies are ready to crawl. There is one thing that we can guarantee it is a natural product made without using any chemicals at any stage of production. So it will have properties that can complement our body and lifestyle.
We make small storage boxes with screw pine, which is ideal as gift boxes.