Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swamp Milkweed Pods


I have a special kind of plant for you today. This plant is called Swamp Milkweed. I have actually been showing this plant to you for awhile now without knowing exactly what it was. Make no mistake, I knew it was a milkweed plant, but I didn't know what kind it was, and I didn't know it grew pods.

I really thought this plant was destroyed after some of the storms we have had. I walked past and saw it growing but I just didn't recognize the leaves. Common Milkweed has fatter leaves than this Swamp Milkweed. And the pods also look different. These new pods look smoother than the spiny common variety. I really thought the pods were just more leaves.


These two photos above are from a few of my past posts. You can click on the pictures to see the posts. The first one shows a bumblebee on the blooms of the plant. I knew it was a different kind of milkweed than the Common Milkweed, but back then I didn't know what kind it was. I was just so proud at the time of the pictures of the bee.

The second picture gave me my first clue. When I first saw what I thought was a gigantic mutated ladybug, it turned out to be a bug called a Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle. That gave me my first clue of the name of this plant. I didn't bother to investigate further because, like I said before, I thought the storms wiped out this plant. But now I know that's not true at all.


This is what first showed me that there were indeed pods on this plant, and that it was actually the same milkweed plant I had been watching before. The pods have begun breaking open so the seeds could escape. As far as I remember, the seeds on the different types look similar, but I could be wrong.

A few things that differentiate the Swamp Milkweed from other types of milkweed are it's narrow lance shaped leaves. The common milkweed leaves are much fatter. The swamp milkweed also has striking pink blooms that are much more colorful than common milkweed. And like I said before, these have slender, smooth pods and stems, while the others are different.


As the name indicates, swamp milkweed grows near swamps, wet meadows, ditches, edges of streams, and shorelines of ponds and lakes. I found the plant in my pictures growing near the dam of the lake at one of my nature parks. So I guess it would fit the description pretty well.

I've had a good time following the progress of this particular plant, and I didn't even know that's what I was doing. The plant just happened to be in a place I like to visit very often. But  that's what happens when you're an Everyday Adventurer, so many good things like this happen without you even having to search for them.

21 comments:

  1. Hey;

    I remember the milkweed plant - I used to have an abundance of them where I used to live - they would send their little seedlings flying through the air and it was neat to watch them on the gentle breezes on a summer afternoon. Thanks

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  2. You are the Everyday Wanderer, Ratty, that's why "so many good things like this happen without you even having to search for them", and they are handful.

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  3. Wow..I love those pictures of the milkweed pods! They're so awesome to see, Ratty!

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  4. I love these Ratty. I really like the lady bug and your fabulous Macro at the bottom.

    I'm glad you liked my hummingbirds. Those were tough shots to get!!

    Welcome to CMF also!! I hope you have a great day. I am also grabbing your addy to get you on my blog roll!!

    I don't want to lose touch with the wonderful everyday adventurer!!

    I am quite busy right now myself getting signed up for classes and new programs. So forgive me for missing a few days!!

    Ewwwwww...I have a snake phobia. maybe that's why I missed a couple of days!!

    Thanks for the wonderful adventure!!
    Jackie:-)

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  5. Great photos, the milkweed pods look so cool. Love how the seeds look.

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  6. Isn't that the best!! You find what you are not looking for on adventures. :)

    Milkweed is fun. I have tried to grow the weedy variety from the west and it refuses to stay alive under my direction! And it's supposed to be a WEED!

    Great close up pictures.

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  7. And I think that is a native ladybug too!

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  8. Be sure to check the undersides of the leaves for monarch caterpillar eggs or caterpillars. They lay their eggs on these plants.

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  9. It's always exciting to stumble across new things. The milkweed plant is exotic looking. I like different and unusual so this was a treat.

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  10. You got some great shots this time Ratty. Love the ladybugs.

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  11. You have just showed one of my favorite plants, and so beautifully!

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  12. Interesting plant..I like the pods and the fluffy white coming from it. Great textures for photography.

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  13. The Milkweed Pod shots are great, Ratty. Your photos keep me coming back again and again.

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  14. I've never seen this plant before and of course if I had I wouldn't have known what it was. It's very interesting to look at.

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  15. Thanks for post. It’s really informative stuff.
    I really like to read.Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here!

    walls

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  16. Here's what you get for being so darn good and not following my blog too!!:-(

    Just kidding..I luv ya Ratty!! Here's the proof!!

    http://shinade.blogspot.com/2009/09/golden.html

    Happy weekend,
    Jackie

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  17. Cool photos Ratty, that is a really pretty plant. I haven't seen any milkweed at all lately, maybe I'm just missing it. Thanks for the information.

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  18. I haven't seen a Milkweed in years! We used to pull them apart when we were kids. They are a neat plant!! I think there is something edible on them too.

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  19. This is when I really got behind again! I read all of your comments when they came in, but had no time to answer each one. I'll answer the questions from this one, but thank all the rest of you for your comments this time.
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    Julia - That bug is actually not a ladybug at all. I thought maybe it was when I first saw it too. It's called a swamp milkweed leaf beetle. It's bigger than a ladybug, and very destructive to these plants.
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    Lin - I've been watching the leaves of milkweeds very closely. I have a few unexpected surprises about that coming soon.
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    Jackie - I really thought I was already following you. I'll have to make sure this time. :)

    And thanks for the cool award! I'll have my post up as soon as I can, hopefully Sunday.
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    Ginnymo - I used to pull milkweed pods apart too. That's why I like them so much. Yeah, I just learned that there are edible parts of this plant, but I'm not confident enough about it to say what exactly.

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  20. Thanks for telling about such unique and different plants. pic are very nice.

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