Order becoming chaos
If you’ve ever seen a mass of milkweed fluff loose on the ground you know what chaos is, but before that chaos there was order. Here you see some fibers that, though free except where they attach to their darker seed, still briefly hold the parallelism with which they were packed inside the pod that gave birth to them.
This is Asclepias asperula, known as antelope-horns, and it’s the most common milkweed in Austin. I’d never seen a pod with fluff still in it that had apparently survived intact through the winter and was finally coming undone as late as February 1; in fact the date was so unseasonal that when I first caught a glimpse of the fluff clustered on the ground some distance away I thought a furry or feathery animal had recently met its end.
As for location, this was on the right-of-way beneath the large power lines that cross a portion of my neighborhood to the west of Morado Circle in northwest Austin. Last spring, in a view a couple of hundred yards further west, you saw some fresh antelope-horns milkweed plants that were part of a resurgent wildflower meadow.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman