Leizu (Chinese: 嫘祖; pinyin: Léi Zǔ) was a legendary Chinese empress and wife of the Yellow Emperor. According to tradition, she discovered silk, sericulture, and invented the silk loom, in the 27th century BC.
Leizu discovered silkworms while having a midday tea, and a cocoon fell in her tea.
According to one account, the silkworm fell into her tea, and the heat unwrapped the silk until it stretched across her entire garden. When the silk ran out, she saw a small cocoon and realized that this cocoon was the source of the silk. Another version says that she found silkworms eating the mulberry leaves and spinning cocoons. She collected some cocoons, then sat down to have some tea. While she was sipping a cup, she dropped a cocoon into the steaming water. A fine thread started to separate itself from the silkworm cocoon. Leizu found that she could unwind this soft and lovely thread around her finger.