I’m fascinated by milkweed. In summer, the plants bear pink flowers. In the fall and winter, the hard pods offer a textured outside with a smooth interior, while the seeds are attached to white fluff that can take off with the wind. I love the contrast and find them very photogenic.
What I like most about milkweed is that it provides nectar for a variety of butterflies, the monarch foremost among them. Hummingbird, hummingbird clearwing moths, bees, and a variety of insects also feed there.
The name milkweed derives from the milky substance the oozes from the stem or leaves if they’re damaged. Although the leaves are poisonous, the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly eat them safely, rendering them poisonous to predators. The large milkweed bug pictured below also feeds on the seeds, making them poisonous to predators as well. The damage the bugs do isn’t great, even though they swarm the plants. I managed to isolate just this one for the photo.
There are a number of varieties of milkweed. The one pictured below is the common milkweed or Asclepias syriaca. Despite their (to me) beauty and uses, milkweed propagate easily and can become a nuisance.
To view Sally’s thoughts and photos or to find the other photos linked to the “Macro” challenge this week, just click on the link.