Inside a milkweed pod

It just started to rain again, so I have time for another posting. Only a week left in Maine, and then I will probably go quiet for a while.

Milkweed is a remarkable plant. Native to New England, it is the only plant that the threatened monarch butterfly caterpillar eats, so I encourage it until it tries to take over the entire field. This summer, the monarchs were here, and so were their caterpillars. (The butterfly is on a liatris flower, not a milkweed.)

Milkweed has a very unusual flower, botanically speaking. The anthers are fused up the outsides of the stamen, like little pillars, and instead of loose pollen they contain capsules of pollen, Pollonia, which insects dislodge and carry off. I took these photos a few years ago.

It then produces a big fat seedpod, and the seeds inside are arranged like roof tiles,  each with its own tiny parachute. I opened one up, and took these photos.

Milkweed pods

And the silks are ravishing:

Milkweed podsAll this beauty, in plant and butterfly too.

2 thoughts on “Inside a milkweed pod”

  1. Amazing. Good detail. I’m so relaxed without responsibilities. We’re between Tallinn and gdansk two nights and a day at sea.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

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