Milkweed Seeds

Last summer, hummingbirds, butterflies and bees nectared in the pale pink blossoms of common milkweed that grows in our back garden.  Now in mid-November, the thick, fibrous stalks and leaves have died back.  Last week, the rough, oval pods split open and released their small, coffee-brown seeds, each one surrounded by an arc of silk to sail it on the wind.  They seem such delicate creations to be floating November’s raw skies and, for me, symbolize the beauty and life that will return next spring.

The delicate-looking seeds of common milkweed escape their pods.

The delicate-looking seeds of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) escape their pods.

Before the pod opens, the milkweed seeds are tightly arranged in orderly rows around a central core.

Before the pod opens, the milkweed seeds and their silky “parachutes” are tightly arranged in orderly rows around a central column.

Last summer a bumblebee fertilized the flower that formed the milkweed pod I photographed above.

Last July, a bumblebee fertilized the blossoms that became today’s seeds.