A Snapshot In Time

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

While chasing a decidedly camera-shy Common Buckeye butterfly yesterday afternoon, I came upon a fleeting segment of natural wonder.

Beneath a patch of zinnias an asclepias seedpod was having a moment. Walls of the okra-shaped pod had separated, revealing rows of seeds attached to white, silky threads.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Patterns in nature are fascinating and here the seeds are aligned, held back by gentle tufts of silkiness.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

I went inside to grab some clippers imagining this would make a great focal point for a floral design.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

In my brief two-minute absence nature carried on with its script, sending the necessary amount of wind across the flower bed, releasing the seeds into the world. Wind dispersal sends seeds away from the parent plant, in this case carried atop silky parachutes. Stunned it had happened so immediately I failed to even photograph the mostly bare stems left behind.

Eventually I managed a distant shot of the butterfly, a satisfying consolation and another fine example of nature’s fondness for pattern.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) on Chrysanthemum ‘Sheffield Pink’ (Hardy Chrysanthemum)

16 thoughts on “A Snapshot In Time

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      So funny, Cathy! As fluffy as the silken parts were it didn’t occur to me to touch. But would make sense. I like the shape of those seeds but couldn’t think of a word to describe it.

      Reply
  1. Eliza Waters

    I think Asclepias seed pods are my all time favorite – wonderful living works of art, not to mention the delight of seeing dozens of dancing fairies sailing away on the breeze.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Yes, works of art! I have had a book since college days called Abstract Patterns in Nature and I’ve always admired the way the natural world works.

      Reply

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