Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Mysterious Milkweed Pods

Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca
Green Milkweed Pods with the pod carpel seam intact.

The seam dries first and separates.
Milkweed has a specialized pollination system. The pollen is not distributed in particles but rather small sacs of pollen are tethered to the stamens and when large insects such as wasps visit the flower, the sacs catch on their feet ready to be transported to a place of fertilization.

Getting ready, very neatly packed in a drying pod. The silk begins to liberate itself.

As the pod dries it contracts slowly exposing the seeds with their wind catching fibers.

It can take several weeks before the pod dries sufficiently to expose all the seeds to their chance to catch a lift on the moving air. Thus distributing seeds over time and varying weather conditions.

The center carpel membrane is finally completely exposed and the pod is down to it's last seed. The first serious frost is forecast for tonight.

Donegal Browne

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