Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Milkweed vine pod split open

with 19 comments

Milkweed Vine Pod Opening 3185

Another thing I noticed when I walked in the right-of-way west of Morado Circle on March 6th was this dry milkweed vine pod, presumably Matelea reticulata, that had split open to reveal the seed-bearing fluff inside.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 23, 2014 at 7:00 AM

19 Responses

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  1. For decades I equated mikweed with Asclepias syriaca. I found this sort of opened pod at Nash Prairie (as well as throughout Kansas) and it clearly was a different species. I suspect this might be what I’ve seen, which means I know where to go to search for those marvelous flowers this spring.


    March 23, 2014 at 8:10 AM

  2. Steve, this pod looks so much like the one I photographed from the Calotropis procera huge Milkweed plant. I took the photo last year. The Calotropis had several Monarch colonies. This year, I inspected the plant again, and saw no Monarch larvae. So I wonder whether this was a one year phenomena, and it will not happen again, or whether it will happen next year, skipping this year. I inspected the plant and it’s healthy. I thought perhaps the Monarch’s eggs did not survive for another season (or whether the season is simply unpredictable, since the tropics don’t necessarily have a ‘spring’ like in the U.S.) The plant is also in a very inhospitable sector. This image reminded me so much of the Calotropis pod. These silky fibers from the pod are still used in some countries. I believe Jamaica uses Calotropis fibers to stuff pillows but this needs to be verified. Great image.

  3. I wonder how many seeds can be packed into a milkweed pod.

    Jim in IA

    March 23, 2014 at 8:32 AM

  4. I love the old-lady hair in these pods!!


    March 23, 2014 at 11:12 PM

  5. your photos are amazing.


    March 24, 2014 at 12:18 AM

  6. This seed pod has been captured in such fine, sharp detail. The silk is so lustrous and lovely against its vibrant blue background. Stunning!

    Mary Mageau

    March 24, 2014 at 5:06 AM

    • Some people say that the devil is in the details, but I’m not among them. I prefer this visual statement about details.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 24, 2014 at 6:38 AM

  7. Beautiful!

    Barbara Backer-Gray

    March 24, 2014 at 5:51 PM

  8. Perfectly captured, the way the shape of the pod and its “fluff” echo one another. I know from my own feeble attempts at trying to get photos like the one you have here how rare it is to find and capture this moment.

    Susan Scheid

    March 28, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    • Although I’ve photographed milkweed pods and fluff a bunch of times, I was fortunate in this case to find such parallelism between the fluff-bearing core and the pod behind it. Thanks for appreciating it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM

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