A Kapok Tree in Guam By Magd,ulena V. Cru.z George Wctshi,ngtonEueruing High School
29 Another way of planting kapok trees here is to cut off branches from a tree and plant them in properly prepared soil, whereupon the branches take root and with proper care sometimes make a quicker growth than is had by the seedling method. A kapok tree starts bearing when about three years of age. The trees bloom at different periods. The fruits do not ripen simultaneously and several pickings are necessary. Where the trees are not too high, the branches bearing the fruits are shaken from the ground by means of bamboo poles fitted with a hook. If the trees are higher, it is necessaryLo climb them to pick the fruits or shake them off; and care must be taken in doing this since the branches of the kapok tree are brittle and break easily. In dressing kapok the floss is freed by hand-picking the pods. The fiber is then sorted according to its color and other qualities, and the kapok is dried in the sun. When fully dried the seeds and fiber are separated by passing the kapok through a small electric cleaning machine. After all it can be kept indefinitely if necessary.
Kapok is a tree generally distinguished by its horizontal branches. Kapok is composed of flne white or usually light colored, smooth, hairlike fibers about an inch long. It is not a textile fiber, it does not cling together rvell, nor does it make a strong yarn. It is used in mattresses, pillows, and upholstery. In Guam kapok seed are planted in boxes containing any soft and mellow soil which can hold a reasonable amount of moisture without causing bhe seeds to rot be,fore germinatfon takes place. As soon as the seedlings are about four inches high they are transplanted into tin cans and left in these containers until about eight inches tall. This permits choosing of the healthiest plants to set out in the permanent fields. After the second transplanting care must be taken so that the young se,edlingsare not destroyed by animals or cror.rd:d out by weeds and underbrush.
The l\farines have staked out one more c]aim to fame by establishing the fact that the rikisha that furnishes a living for thousands of coolies in China, Japan and Singapore was the invention of a member of the corps. Private Jonathan Goble of the Marine detachment on the U.S.S. Susquehamn(tr, one of the ships in Commodore Perry's fleel, whreh visited Japan in 1854, conceivedthe idea. Goble had been a farmer in his native State of New York, before he enteredthe Marine Corps in 1851 at the age of 24, He remained in the servicefour years. Just rvhen Goble conceived his idea of the rikisha is not known, but after leaving the Marine Corps and returning to Japan as a missionary, he suggested to the Japanese the idea of making these enlarged gocarts a means of conveyance. The first rikisha, constructed as a result of his suggestion, made its appearancein Japan in 1867, and subsequently its use spread to nearly all the countries of the F ar East.
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