Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘pod

Whorled milkweed

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How convenient for a photographer: growing right at the edge of the path we walked on in Bastrop State Park on June 6th were some flowers whose structure yelled out “Milkweed!” Not recognizing the species, I later looked in Michael Eason’s Wildflowers of Texas, which led me to conclude the plant was whorled milkweed, Asclepias verticillata. Below is a closeup showing a developing seed pod, beyond which you can again make out the characteristic color of the iron-rich earth in Bastrop.

While preparing this post I realized that five years ago I showed a picture of a milkweed in New Mexico with a slightly different scientific name, Asclepias subverticillata.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 18, 2019 at 4:49 PM

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

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 13, 2017 at 4:48 AM

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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

Contorted mesquite pod

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Mesquite Pod Detail 6617

One of the most common trees in Texas is the honey mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa. Members of the legume family produce seed pods, and in this species the pods are especially long. This one was colorful and constricted in so unusual a way that I couldn’t resist photographing it up close. No doubt some of you with active imaginations will see this as the long neck, tapering head, and long-lanced beak of some fantastic creature.

Today’s picture is from September 22 on what is thankfully still undeveloped land between Josh Ridge Blvd. and Harris Ridge Blvd. on the prairie in northeast Austin.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 12, 2015 at 4:49 AM

Antelope horns milkweed fluff and a cast-off spider exoskeleton

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Antelope Horns Milkweed Fluff with Molted Spider Exoskeleton 3491

Near the end of our nature walk at David and Jolyn’s place in Dripping Springs on May 30th, I knelt to photograph the first split-open pod I’d seen this year of an antelope horns milkweed, Asclepias asperula, and in the fluff I noticed a spider’s cast-off exoskeleton. Color aside, it does look something like one of the milkweed’s silk-bearing seeds, don’t you think?

To see the many places in the southwestern United States where this species of milkweed grows, you can check out the USDA map.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 28, 2015 at 4:48 AM

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