It's Milkweed season! At this time of the fall, about the same time that the Tamarack turn brilliant yellow, the Milkweed pods burst open, the seeds slowly unfold, and then as individual seeds break loose they float through the air, bits of white fluff seeking a foothold on bare soil where they can germinate next spring.
The way individual seeds and their tiny parachutes are squeezed into a Milkweed pod is one of nature's great packing jobs!
I haven't been able to find any information on what triggers Milkweed plant seed pods to burst open, but it always happens at this time of year here, and then the seeds slowly separate themselves and their little parachutes get untangled.
Here you can see five Milkweed seeds that have separated themselves, but their parachutes are not yet completely ready to fly.
It doesn't seem to take long, if it's a sunny day.
And fly they did! All around me it was raining Milkweed seeds, landing on the grass at my feet.
They're a remarkably intricate combination of seed and parachute when you look closely.
I notice them at this season because they show up like a splash of white across the yard. I look out the window like this and wonder what the white thing is up there beside the driveway, grab the binoculars, and realize it's Milkweed season.
Until you get close it just looks like a splash of white that wasn't there yesterday!
The remarkable sunny (if cool) November weather continues here, so I hope to get out on more hikes yet. Tonight is the supermoon, and remarkably enough the sky is clear!