Milkweed Summer and Fall Photos

Yesterday I featured the Monarch butterfly and its relationship to the milkweed plant. Today, I would like to share a series of milkweed pictures that I took  from June to October of this year. The plant is beautiful, featuring broad strong leaves with a reddish vein going up the centre,  aromatic pink flower clusters, slender green textured pods that turn brown and crack, revealing silky white filaments attached to brown teardrop seeds.   All of this is documented in the photos below, but first I would like to indulge in a few words about milkweed and its ecology.

The milkweed genus, Asclepias, is named after the Greek God of healing, Asclepius, because of the healing properties of its milky sap.  The sap is also toxic and is eaten by some animals, such as the monarch caterpillar, to ward off predators.  Milkweed is not only propagated in the wind by white floss; it also multiplies by sending out underground rhizomes which sprout new plants (that’s why I have several plants growing next to each other).  If you think of these plants as ‘weeds’, this could be a nuisance, but if you have embraced them as friends, this is excellent news.

Milkweed is a friend to many insects and plants. Some insects are completely dependent on milkweed as a food source. These would include monarch caterpillars, milkweed bugs, and milkweed leaf beetles.  For an excellent photo of orange milkweed bugs, visit  PrairieChat’s ‘Taste of Minnesota Fall’ photo collection. Milkweed nectar is sipped by butterflies, native bees, and wasps; and many animals, such as spiders, small birds, and mice use the plant as shelter. For more ecology details check out this milkweed profile.

I would like to thank Sylvain Landry of Sylvain-Landry.com,  for the added incentive to publish this collection of photos, offered by his  SL-Week 13: Ecology photo challenge, which closes in a few days.

Milkweed Flowers, June 2015
Milkweed Flowers, June 2015
Milkweed Pods, August 13, 2015
Milkweed Pods, August 13, 2015
Milkweed pods, September 15, 2015
Milkweed pods, September 15, 2015
Mature Milkweed Pod, October 2015
Mature Milkweed Pod, October 2015
Milkweed Blowing in the Wind, October 2015
Milkweed Blowing in the Wind, October 2015

‘Slowly the pod would open, letting fly

Transparent chains of pearls across the sky.’

From The Milkweed Pod  by Elizabeth Bohm.

Empty Milkweed Pod, October 2015
Empty Milkweed Pod, October 2015
Milkweed seeds, October 2015
Milkweed seeds, October 2015

Milkweed seeds lying on garden soil, as stars in a night sky, offering hope of fresh growth next year.

©2015, All rights reserved by Ontheland.wordpress.com

12 thoughts on “Milkweed Summer and Fall Photos

      1. No, nothing like these plants, they are quite unusual. What we call milk thistle is as close as we get. Its a small introduced plant from Europe plant that has a thick white substance in its stem with a small flowery head. Birds seem to like them. Australia has such a unique mix of indigenous Flora mostly unlike anything else in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s