Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘milkweed

How could I show you one without the other?

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That is, show you pearl milkweed flowers (Matelea reticulata) without also showing you one of the vine’s pods. By June 22nd this one had already split open and was beginning to release its seeds, each attached to a bit of aeronautical fluff. I followed suit and attached not fluff but a flash to my camera because the area wasn’t bright enough for me to get all the important details in focus without an extra helping of light.

By the way, the shiny fibers attached to the seeds explain why an alternate name for milkweed is silkweed.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 13, 2017 at 4:48 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Haven’t shown you this for a good while

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2014 was the last time I showed you a flower of the pearl milkweed vine, Matelea reticulata. To compensate for that long lapse, here you have not one but two pearl milkweed flowers I photographed on a vine in my neighborhood on June 22nd. What happy propinquity.

If these flowers weren’t so common here, they’d be rare.* What I mean is that while pearl milkweed readily grows in northwest Austin, it’s easy to forget how seldom we see green flowers, much less any that possess net-like patterns and have a tiny pearly shelter covering their center. Notice that the central structure is curvily pentagonal, with each vertex gesturing toward the tip of a pointy petal. Milkweeds speak in fives.**

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* Google turned up no hits for “If they weren’t so common, they’d be rare,” so I’ll claim that witticism.

** In this case Google says I’ve just spoken a novel four-word sentence about fiveness.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 12, 2017 at 4:54 AM

A different kind of fluff

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pearl-milkweed-pod-and-seed-5349

In contrast to the fluff of the snake-cotton from Arizona that appeared in the previous post, behold the fluff I saw yesterday along Misting Falls Trail in my Austin neighborhood. I was driving to the store when I caught sight of a pearl milkweed vine (Matelea reticulata) hanging in some denuded tree branches. Several pods had opened, and as I watched them the breeze occasionally scattered bits of their seed-bearing fluff.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2016 at 4:53 AM

A less-common milkweed

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hierba-de-zizotes-flowering-9517

On September 7th, while walking across a field bordering Grand Avenue Parkway in Pflugerville on my way to photograph a few Maximilian sunflowers, one of which you saw last time, I spotted a milkweed that I come across only occasionally, Asclepias oenotheroides. It has appeared in these pages just once before, and I refer you to that earlier post for a closer look at a more advanced stage in the milkweed’s development and to find out more about one of its common names, hierba de zizotes.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2016 at 5:00 AM

Milkweed buds

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Melisa Pierson: "It is usually less than 2' tall, and the leaves are variable from narrow to wide oval. I do see quite a bit of variation out there, in fact, I thought there were 2 different species but research tells me that it is one species. I am seeing an increase of it at Illinois Beach."

On June 9th at Illinois Beach State Park I photographed this cluster of milkweed (Asclepias spp.) buds. In looking at the picture now, I like the way the curves and lines of the elements farther back complement the buds whose closest tips are sharply detailed in the foreground.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 12, 2016 at 4:53 AM

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Greenity*

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Gall on Common Milkweed Leaf 7886

At the risk of greening you out with a third post in a row that’s heavy on that color, here’s another view of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, this time from Illinois Beach State Park on June 14. I no longer remember what cast the pleasantly undulating shadow on the left side of the leaf, but one lobe of that shadow worked to highlight the lone gall there.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


* We don’t normally stick a Latin-derived suffix on a native English word the way I’ve done with greenity, but some hybrids (for example outage) have entered our standard vocabulary. In searching the Internet now I see that I’m not the first person to come up with greenity.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 9, 2016 at 5:12 AM

Not from Syria

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Asclepias syriaca Buds 7533

From the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th, here are some buds of common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. Its distribution across America is wide, but that doesn’t excuse the botanist who jumped the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and named this species after Syria.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 7, 2016 at 4:56 AM

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