Plants for Materials Essential Part of Human Lives ~ Kwentology

Image of Bahay Kubo
Photo by WOW Philippines Travel Agency. Philippines Nipa Hut, made of indigenous materials like bamboo, coconut lumber, and nipa leaves.

How many things can you spot in this image that have been made from plant materials?

Diverse Uses For Plants

Plant materials are an essential part of our lives, keeping us warm, dry safe, and even entertained!

We make all kinds of things from plant materials. Wood alone is used to make countless objects, big and small, from construction timbers to musical instruments. All kinds of cloth are also made from plants—and so is the paper you are looking at!

Things Can Be Made From Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the world's most useful natural plant products. It is used for scaffolding and building houses, and for making paper, furniture, pipes and tubes, walking sticks, and (when split) for mats, hats, umbrellas, baskets, blinds, fans, barbecue sticks and brushes. Some bamboos have young shoots that are delicious to eat in stir-fries.


Jojoba is a low-growing bush found in Northern Mexico. The fruits have a high-grade oily wax. It is used as a lubricant, in printing inks, and in body lotions and shampoo.


Kapok is similar to cotton. It comes from the kapok tree (known as Doldol in Western Visayas region), which is cultivated in Asia and can Be as tall as 64 feet (50 m). The fluffy seed fibers are used to stuff mattresses, jackets, quilts, and sleeping bags.


Balsa is world's lightest timber—it floats high in water. Balsa tress grow in tropical America. Balsa wood is used for making models such as airplanes, and also for rafts, life-belts, and insulation.

What is Raffia?

Raffia is a natural fiber made from the young leaves of raphia palm, which grows in tropical Africa. Raffia is used in handicrafts such as basketry.

Plants that Produce Fuel to Run Cars

When tapped, the copaiba tree of the Amazon rainforest yields an oil similar to diesel, at a rate of 4 gallons (18 litres) every 2 hours. It can be used to run engines. The petroleum nut tree of southeast Asia produces a high-octane oil in its seeds that is extracted by crushing. As crude oil reserves are used up, fuel from plants may become more important.

Wood Makes the Best Cricket Bats

The best cricket bats are made in northern India, from the timber of the cricket-bat willow, a form of white willow. The blade (the part the ball strikes) is made from willow, and the handle usually from a different wood or cane.

How is Cork Produced?

Cork comes a tree called the cork oak, which grows wild around the Mediterranean Sea and has been cultivated in Portugal, Spain, and North Africa. The cork is the thick, spongy bark. It is stripped away from the lower trunk, then left to grow back for up to 10 years before next harvest. Cork is used to make many things, from bottle corkscrew and pin-boards to floor tiles.

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