Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro…the magic of milkweed

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Nature, Phoneography Challenge, PhotoRehab
Tags: , , , , ,

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.

copyright janet m. web 2015

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.

  1. pattisj says:

    This was the first year we had an invasion of milkweed bugs. There were a ton of them!

    • Here, too, Patti. It was difficult to get a shot without finding at least one bug in it and often there were so many the photo would seem like a photo of them, rather than the milkweed.


  2. Magnificent macro shot; I have always found so much pleasure in watching the seeds waft on fall breezes.

  3. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Nice photo, Janet. At first glance I thought those were chocolate chips.

  4. Stunning photo, Janet. I like milkweed for all the reasons you noted, but it certainly can take over. LOL I have an area where it pops up all over but that is okay. I get out the small lawn mower and trim around it. However, where it pops up in the front gardens I have been known to give it a yank. Of course, then I feel guilty. 🙂

    • Milkweed is invasive, Judy, and you have to yank it out when necessary. I like to go to wild places and see it…and then see butterflies or other insects on it.


  5. Dan Antion says:

    Very nice photo. At first glance, I thought it was sliced strawberries 🙂

  6. Thanks for honoring one of the most important plants for the monarch butterfly. The milkweed is a fascination, and you’ve captured the delicacy of its seeds and seedpod. Happy Photo Challenge.

  7. bythebriny says:

    Great photo and fascinating plant. Doesn’t grow in my area.

    • I love watching them through their different phases: flowering, seeds, hard shells. The fact that they’re food for so many wonderful critters makes it even better.


  8. Simply stunning, Janet. Your fascination with Milkweed is understandable and you make beautiful photos of it. This one is very special.

  9. Stunning photos – I do love your photos of the milkweed

  10. Angeline M says:

    This perspective of the milkweed is gorgeous, Janet.

  11. pattimoed says:

    What a beautiful macro shot, Janet.

  12. thirdeyemom says:

    Gorgeous photo Janet and really cool information on milkweed. I didn’t know how much it helps butterflies.

  13. Lucid Gypsy says:

    This is a stunning photo Janet!

  14. klara says:

    wow, that is such an amazing macro.

  15. reocochran says:

    This milk weed pod is gorgeous, as the details are very clear. That milkweed bug is so colorful I thought it might be a butterfly with its wings closed. Beautiful!