Non Conventional Fibres Association

Eri Silk

Zoological information

  • Eri silk is obtained from the insect species; Samia Cynthia Ricini/ Atticus Ricini which belongs to the family of Saturniidae.
  • It is popularly known as ‘Peace Silk’, ‘Ahimsa Silk’, and ‘Poor Man’s Silk’.
  • It is the only completely domesticated silkworm besides Bombyx mori that feeds on the castor leaves.
  • Eri’ is derived from the Assamese word ‘Era’ or ‘Eranda’ meaning castor. Thus, it is known as eri silkworm.
  • It is a multivoltine, producing more than two breeds of offspring in a year.

Habitat and Fibre production

  • Eri culture is primarily cultured in the Northeastern States of India.
  • Eri culture is widely practised in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, and Nagaland, and around 98% of the national demand is fulfilled by the produce obtained from these
  • Since recently, it is practiced on a smaller scale in states like Orrisa, West Bengal, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The silk is spun as staple fibres are obtained from the open-ended cocoons.
  • In India, eri silk is known as ‘Endi’.
  • It is more expensive than other silks as it takes time to practice the skill and spin the cocoons.
  • The life cycle of an eri silkworm is roughly six weeks in summer and twelve weeks in winter.
  • In 2016-2017, out of total raw silk production (30348 metric tons), eri silk accounted for the 17.8% (5563.7 metric tons) of the natural raw silk fibre. 

Table 1. Physical & mechanical properties and chemical composition of areca nut fibres

Physical and Mechanical properties


40-60 mm


19.4 µm


33.4 g/tex



Chemical composition





Waxy matter


Minerals, Ash, and other material


Features of the fibre

  • Eri silk is extracted as a staple fibre having appropriate fineness, cross-sectional shape, and surface properties.
  • It provides a feel like cotton, luster like silk and warmth and bulkiness like wool and is softest of all the silk fibres.
  • It has excellent thermal regulation properties; thus, it provides warmth in winter and coolness in summer.
  • Eri silk is resistant to piling and has good elastic recovery.
  • It possesses higher elongation, and shrinkage properties.
  • It is moisture absorbent, solid and depicts good form which gives a typical texture.
  • It is finer than Muga and Tasar silk and is softer than Mulberry silk.
  • It is important to give proper twist to the yarn to maintain the dimensional stability of the garments and made ups.


  • It creates the finest quality blankets, sweaters, and suiting materials.
  • The durable chaddars or wrappers’ winter shawls are usually used as winter clothing in the colder regions.
  • Jackets, dress materials, baby dresses, bedspreads, etc., are also made using eri silk.
  • Also, finer yarns are used to weave the traditional sarees and dress materials.
  • It is also widely used to make home furnishing products such as bed covers, cushion covers, curtains, quilts, wall hangings, etc. 
  • Eri silk shows good blending properties and thus is commonly blended with other natural silks, cotton, wool, jute, and synthetic fibres.
  • It is a preferred material of Buddhists and Vegans as producing Eri silk does not require killing the moth.