Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Both sides now, again

with 13 comments

Pearl Milkweed Pod Beginning to Open 0838


A couple of comments about this morning’s photograph seemed to call for a follow-up, so now that you’ve had a chance to contemplate the surface of a pod produced by Matelea reticulata, the pearl milkweed vine, here’s a look at the opposite side of the same pod you saw last time. No one’s mother does a better job of packing this slender suitcase—or more accurately seedcase—than Mother Nature, as you can tell from the contents partly visible through the widening slit.

This photograph once again comes from December 3rd along Great Northern Blvd.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM

13 Responses

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  1. Hi Steve! I’m posting this comment via email — looks like it brings me here to the blog. Was so good to see you and Eve yesterday! And now for a bit about the photo — just so good, and somewhat creepy! I never noticed the little horns on the sides of the pods like that before.


    December 26, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    • “The better to stick you with, my dear,” said the big bad wolf. Frivolity aside—and creepiness—I’m wondering if the little horns do keep the pod from being eaten by some animals, for example a bison.

      We were glad to see you guys on Thursday also, even if it was too late in the day for a nature walk. We’ll have to remedy that soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 27, 2014 at 7:58 AM

  2. Nice closeup, this has turned a milkweed pod into something other-worldly in my opinion! But I do love Milkweeds and as a kid I enjoyed freeing up all those little seeds with their fluffy accessories. Nice take on it. 😉


    December 28, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    • I can see why you find this pod other-worldly, something helped along by an abstract view.

      Children love playing with milkweed, so it was natural during World War II to send them out to collect as many pods as they could find. The military used the fluff in flotation devices.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2014 at 6:16 AM

      • Wow really? As a sort of down fill? I still want to grab them sometimes and tear them apart! 😉


        December 28, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        • Yes, as a down fill. The kapok that had previously served that purpose wasn’t available because the Japanese had cut off the supply.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 28, 2014 at 3:22 PM

  3. The tightly packed seeds in a milkweed seedpod, and the ensuing explosion of fluff, have long been among my favorite things.


    January 15, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    • Me too, and I’ve made sure to show at least one picture of that in this blog each year. More common here than the pods of the milkweed vine are those of the so-called antelope-horns milkweed, the most abundant Asclepias species in central Texas:


      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2015 at 9:25 AM

      • That is a gorgeous photo, Steve. The silk is so fine and shiny, and organized! You should see my photo! Pure chaos.


        January 15, 2015 at 9:39 AM

        • I was happy with that photo, Melissa. The milkweed fluff was chaotic, but in an orderly sort of way. Seems like milkweed fluff would be a good subject for one of your paintings.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 15, 2015 at 10:04 AM

          • I’ve thought about it. Also snowflakes. However it seems my mind and paintbrush lack the discipline. I so admire the order you bring to your photography and wordplay.


            January 15, 2015 at 11:43 AM

            • You could say I’ve been working as an orderly, and that I wouldn’t flake out on my readers.

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 15, 2015 at 12:33 PM

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