Sunday, June 17, 2007
The roadside now also offers up plenty of milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. This big gaudy mass of blooms attracts many different insects which provide pollination. As a child I was very fond of the strange spiney pods which hung from these plants in the fall and winter, especially when they cracked open and hundreds of beautiful ”parachutes” floated in the breeze. The down from these flying seeds has been reported to be an insulator as effective as goose feathers. This time of year, though, the entertainment comes from the monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, which use this plant as a nursery for their eggs and larva.