I cut the milkweed stalks in my yard down before they could produce seeds; my stand is big enough and my neighbors might not appreciate milkweed coming up in their yard. I was hiking recently in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (hiking back from the river after a stream assessment with high schoolers) and spotted some seed pods with fluffy seeds emerging. We’d had some dry days and the white fiber parachutes were carrying seeds away with every breeze – unless they were still matted inside the split pod.
Milkweed pods are one of my favorite subjects for photography in the fall. The bright white fibers draw the eye in the browning meadows.
Hopefully all these seeds flew away before the rains later that afternoon. Rain tends to destroy the parachute so the seeds are stuck either in the pod or in a soggy mass on the ground.
Milkweed also comes up from the roots so even if these seeds don’t find a way to grow, the stand will be denser next year with plants coming up from all along the roots already there. I noticed some young plants near the stand and wondered if some of the warm days we had in October prompted the plants to send up spring-like shoots.