Sola chips and beads have become a parrotJOY staple in several of our toys. The soft, spongy texture of sola is perfect for gentle chewers or parrots new to chewing. But what are sola chips and beads and where does sola come from?
Sola chips and beads come from the stems of two different species of plants (aspera and indica) belonging to the genus Aeschynomene, and is commonly called Sholapith or Indian Cork. Aeschynomene is an aquatic plant native to southeast Asia and it belongs to the Fabaceae or legume family. It thrives in marshlands and is considered a minor weed in rice paddies.
This unique plant is a perennial subshrub that grows up to 6 feet and is generally partially submerged. Aeschynomene wood has a corky texture and is one of the lightest woods in the world. It is easily identified by the leaves floating on top of marshy waters. The cortex of the stem is 2-3 inches in diameter and it has a white spongy plant matter that is sometimes pressed and shaped into art objects. The material has also been used in helmets for military and police.
The best time to harvest Sholapith is after it has flowered. Once harvested, the Sholapith plant must be thoroughly dried and then it is often sold in the market in bundles of 2-3 foot sticks. However, the sholapith that is used in parrotJOY comes in the form of thin chips, sticks, or small beads.
Because of its soft, spongy texture, sola is great for gentle chewers or parrots new to chewing. We are proud to bring your parrot this fun chewable material. Check back often to learn more about the natural history, sourcing, and harvesting of parrotJOY natural toy components.