Saturday, August 19, 2006

Riders of the wind

Swamp milkweed pods and seeds

"The far travelers of the plant world, the original sailors of the air in the plant kingdom, prepare their hostages to the wind. The gossamer parachutes, each with its germ of life, approach their time of departure. The winds of Autumn will bring down the leaves, but they will also carry a fragile freight of next year's green and urgent life. Who can count the fluff-borne seeds that will fill the late September air?" --Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons


Endment said...

What a perfect picture to go with the Hal Borland Quote - Isn't he a wonderful read for the day?

silverlight said...

During WW11, people were asked to pick milkweed fluff and take it to various centers. It was used to pad coats, jackets and sleeping bags for our military personnel. Because those items originally used Kapok, which was imported no longer. At least, until after the war was over.
We used to call it, fairy bedding.

LauraHinNJ said...

Endment: I find that Borland has something nice to say for just about any topic.

Silverlight: Thanks for the interesting comment. I'd never heard of that kind of wartime project, but guess that with the abundance of milkweed it gave people at home something to do to help with the war effort.

Love the name fairy bedding - I'll keep my eyes open for fairies taking naps in the milkweed patch. ;-)

Wayne said...

Yeah, milkweed pods!

For extra fun, bring in a ripe, dried, but unopened fruit and put it in bowl with a lid loosely on. In a few days take the lid off and watch the explosion of seeds as they expand and float out!

LauraHinNJ said...

Wayne: Thanks for the tip! I did something like that by mistake last year - collected a bunch of pods to share with friends and forgot about them for a while.


Most of the pods haven't opened yet. Just the ones that have been populated by milkweed bugs - interesting - wonder if the seeds will be viable or are damaged by them, do you know?