Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Green milkweed pod releasing its seeds

with 31 comments

After I took pictures of a large sunflower colony along Gregg-Manor Rd. east of TX 130 on June 10th, I noticed on the other side of the road a green milkweed plant (Asclepias viridis) with a split-open pod whose seeds and silk the breeze was freeing. As is my common practice, I got close to the ground so I could aim upward to position the seeds and silk against the morning’s blue sky. And as has occurred from time to time over the years that I’ve been doing nature photography, a good Samaritan stopped—right in the road, with a few cars behind her—to see whether I was ailing and needed help. After I stood up and turned around she saw my camera and realized what I’d been doing. And now that we’re back on Gregg-Manor Rd., I might as well add another view of the yellowlicious sunflower colony that caused me to pull over there in the first place, and without which I probably wouldn’t have caught sight of the opened milkweed pod.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 21, 2020 at 4:37 AM

31 Responses

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  1. That’s cool to photograph it just as some of the silk was taking off

    Robert Parker

    June 21, 2020 at 5:08 AM

    • The still-attached pieces of silk in the upper left moved about even in the slightest breeze. They were far enough away from the pod that at a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second the camera couldn’t keep both the pod and the upper-left silk in focus while also freezing the movement of that silk, so I decided to live with the motion blur as a dynamic sign of what was going on.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2020 at 6:41 AM

  2. Blue-skylicious followed by yellowlicious! What a delicious start for the day. Glad to hear you continue to alarm the local Good Samaritans 😀


    June 21, 2020 at 8:18 AM

    • Happy start to your day and to summer.
      This was the second time recently that someone asked me if I was all right. Insofar as it’s an indication I keep going out to do my photographic thing in nature, it’s good. It also puts a good light on people wanting to help.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2020 at 10:54 AM

      • It sure does and that is reassuring in itself.


        June 21, 2020 at 10:31 PM

  3. Amazing how you captured the seeds getting air-borne, Steve!

    Peter Klopp

    June 21, 2020 at 10:27 AM

    • Technically speaking, I’d say air-whipped in the stage shown here, as the silk in the upper left didn’t immediately fly away. Still, the departure wouldn’t have been delayed for long.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2020 at 10:56 AM

  4. Exuberance in the botanical world.

    Michael Scandling

    June 21, 2020 at 10:48 AM

  5. Hello,Steve-and Eve!   We constantly appreciate your beautifully-fashioned photographs of flowers and plants and  your commentaries and humor(!) as well. We miss seeing you guys.                                   Ariana and Michael                                 


    June 21, 2020 at 1:48 PM

    • Hi, guys. Glad to hear from you, and thanks for appreciating the portraits that appear here. When this virus finally goes away, we’ll have to get together.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2020 at 3:04 PM

  6. Maybe you could get a pennant on a pole that says “photography in session” or something to help out these poor people! But never stop. Thanks.

    Margie McCreless Roe

    June 21, 2020 at 3:51 PM

    • That’s a novel idea, but I’m afraid a pennant would be one more thing I’d have to carry around with me. Also, I suspect people would stop just to try to read what’s on the pennant.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2020 at 4:34 PM

  7. I’ve found that I usually get one of three comments when someone sees me in a ditch or off-road and stops to assess the situation: “Are you ok?”, “Watch out for rattlesnakes (or alligators)”, and “Oh, we thought it was you.” That last comes from the game wardens who’ve grown accustomed to seeing me on the back roads. They’re around more, and more attentive, than many people realize.

    If I tip my head to the left a bit to make the fluff more horizontally grounded, it seems flame-like to me: partly because of the triangular shape and partly because of the iridescence shining in its upper threads. I’ve never seen that before — it’s really neat.


    June 21, 2020 at 6:41 PM

    • I noticed that bit of iridescence, too, and I can see it as a gas flame. If you follow down to the right along the edge of the “triangle” you’ll find other traces of iridescence in the loose fibers. Also, if you come straight down from the topmost iridescence there’s more. It is a neat phenomenon.

      Of the three reactions you’ve gotten, only the first has come my way when I’ve been down on the ground. We were recently warned about a cottonmouth, but we were walking along a trail.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 21, 2020 at 9:05 PM

  8. Mm, that sunflower scene is delectable!


    June 21, 2020 at 8:58 PM

  9. How nice that yellowlicious led to silkilicious. Were you tempted to add a haptic to the visual experience? I love to feel the softness of the silk.


    June 23, 2020 at 4:20 PM

    • Your first sentence is a luscious way to put it. I’ve sometimes lamented the fact that a post can’t convey an actual smell or taste or feel. Maybe some future technology will be able to do that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2020 at 6:08 PM

  10. Milkweeds are wonderful! Did you know that in many places folks call the individual, wafting seeds fairies?


    June 23, 2020 at 5:27 PM

    • Yes, milkweeds are wonderful, but no, I hadn’t heard of the wafting seeds being called fairies. I have heard the term “fairy ring” applied to mushrooms.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 23, 2020 at 7:16 PM

  11. Yellowlicious! Seems a little early for things to be going to seed?

    Steve Gingold

    June 26, 2020 at 1:50 AM

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