Sunday, November 13, 2016

Milkweed Season

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!

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16 comments:

  1. They're beautiful, like a tinsel decoration. In Washington State we have cottonwood trees. In late spring they release their airborne seeds. It looks just like snow both in the air and on the ground. - Margy

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  2. I remember as a kid on the farm where my brother and I would grab them and scatter them just for fun. They would fly everywhere on a windy day. The really do act like a parachute as they float in the air. You have some great photos that you are sharing.

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  3. Great photos of the silky milkweed strands.

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  4. Very, very nice photos of the seeds.

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  5. your images are stunning....proving you done have to be young and fresh to be incredibly beautiful!!!

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  6. what a wonderful close-up, those parachute wings are so delicate, and nature, how could man compete with that intricacy?. Super moon,.. cloud, wind, and overcast all forecast for down here tonight.

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  7. What nice! I have never seen that!

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  8. How lovely! I am so enthralled by those beautiful silky pods. :-)

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  9. Always loved watching them float around, its been a few years now, thanks for the pictures.

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  10. Those are some seriously big pods by the look of them.

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  11. Lovely photos , Our milkweeds are all done now to . Yes the super moon I am hoping for clear sky's . I am enjoying this weather so prefer it to what it could be that's for sure . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

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  12. I didn't realize this was when they popped open. Magic!

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  13. What beautiful close-ups of the seed pods. They are a little marvel. I bought a milkweed plant last year, but didn't have any flower or seeds on it yet. Maybe I should just grab a couple of seeds and pop them in the ground! We've had such a warm November down here, and have been enjoying hikes in the woods too.
    Wendy

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  14. Splendid series of photos! I poked around and found this on old faithful wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehiscence_(botany)
    The way the pod opens reminded me of the cotton bolls of my youth.

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