Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Pearl milkweed vine, old and young

with 9 comments

A common vine in my northwest Austin neighborhood is Matelea reticulata, known as pearl milkweed for the lustrous protuberance at the center of each small flower. The top picture shows the remains of a pod, and the bottom one a new tendril and leaves. Both minimalist views are from Morado Circle on October 23rd.

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“Stand your ground, but also stand corrected. Check your facts, not your privilege. Stay civil and speak up. You will be surprised by your power.” — Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge (2021). Those exhortations make cogent aphorisms, don’t you think?

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 15, 2021 at 4:24 AM

9 Responses

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  1. It’s interesting that the milkweed vine is putting on new growth now. I’ve noticed the same with other plants, like peppervine, particularly where clearing has taken place. The contrast between this seedpod and the new growth is especially nice, but there are some interesting similarities, too; the shape of the leaves looks remarkably like that of the seed pod, and the hairs on the tendril and leaves are echoed on the pod.

    We could rearrange part of Rauch’s advice to say, “Stand your ground, but ground your stance in the facts.”


    November 15, 2021 at 6:55 AM

    • Now that you mention it, I do see the similarity in shape between the new leaves and the remains of the pod. I’ve never found out why the plant is so hairy, which is to say what purpose the hairs serve. And yes, various plants have been putting on new growth. I’d say it’s like bears fattening up for the winter, except we usually don’t have much of a winter (this past February being the horrible exception).

      I like the way you extended “Stand your ground” into “Ground your stance in the facts.” Alas, many “woke” people take the stance that facts and numbers don’t count, only feelings do. Because of that great untruth (as Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff have called it in The Coddling of the American Mind), it’s not possible to reason with the woke. Pointing to that reality, John McWhorter has taken the stance that we shouldn’t waste our time trying to reason with the hard-core woke.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 15, 2021 at 7:22 AM

    • I like that version – standing your ground is worth nothing without the facts!

      Ann Mackay

      November 16, 2021 at 4:54 AM

  2. The new growth is sure an interesting shape overall. Very hairy, the pearl milkweed. I wonder how the pod looks inside. Maybe you will show us when it opens.

    Alessandra Chaves

    November 15, 2021 at 7:31 AM

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