Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A milkweed comet, or Parallelism gives way to divergence

with 14 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Click for greater clarity.

In yesterday’s post you saw some fibers of antelope-horns milkweed fluff that were briefly still parallel, which is the way they’d been since they formed inside their closed pod. In just a short while, though, that parallelism inevitably gives way to divergence, as in this view of a different seed and its attached fluff from the same Asclepias asperula pod as last time. (You’ll see individual strands more clearly if you click the photograph.) And with my imagination soaring from the botanical to the celestial, I can’t help thinking of a comet.

Those of you who are interested in photography as a craft will find that points 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 15 in About My Techniques are relevant to this photograph. If you’d like to see the many places in the southwestern United States where this milkweed species grows, you can check out the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2013 at 6:18 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Gives me hope that Spring is around the corner where dandelions abound.


    February 13, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    • Here in Austin spring is definitely arriving. I saw some unseasonably early firewheels flowering this morning alongside an expressway, and elsewhere some redbud tree blossoms. Happy anticipation to you further north.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2013 at 8:51 AM

  2. Fun!


    February 13, 2013 at 9:11 AM

  3. Surprenant et magique!


    February 13, 2013 at 9:54 AM

  4. looks like a fly-fishing tie. 🙂


    February 13, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    • I’ve read that milkweed fluff resists getting water-logged, so maybe it would actually be good as a fly-fishing tie.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2013 at 10:50 AM

  5. That could easily pass as a cat toy if it were not so delicate. Attach to a pole and then dangle it for the cat to swat. 🙂 Very pretty photo.Your macros are the greatest.


    February 13, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    • Thanks. It’s true that I use my macro lens the most of all the ones I have. (Partially that’s because it also serves as a regular 100mm lens.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 13, 2013 at 9:59 PM

  6. With luck, you’ll get to test your analogy later this year. Comet Ison may put on a quite a show for us, and if some projections are right, we’ll be able to see the tail just about as clearly as that milkweed. Of course, it may be a dud, but most of the astronomy geeks I know think this may be a fine show – certainly better than Lulin.
    While we wait, we’ll just have to admire this terrestrial pretender!


    February 14, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    • I hadn’t heard anything about Comet ISON, and other people may not have either, so thanks for bringing that to our attention. As you say, let’s hope this isn’t another dud. Comets don’t often come around, but lowly milkweeds, as has been said of the poor, shall always be with us.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 14, 2013 at 10:56 PM

  7. […] older poem was substantially re-written after I became intrigued by  A Milkweed Comet  on Steve Schwartzman’s “Portraits of Wildflowers” blog.  Comments always are […]

  8. […] my other blog in February I showed a picture of a milkweed seed with fluff radiating from one end and I commented that it reminded me of a comet. The resemblance is a botanical and an etymological […]

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