October 21, 2009

Milkweed Silk

When I photographed milkweed a few days ago, I didn't realize that the seeds in the pods pictured were immature. Yesterday I noticed that each of the larger seeds, a flat oval shape, had a circular gathering of tiny threads on its end. This lovely billowing form carries the seed on the wind.

Milkweed silk, I discovered, was used to fill jackets during World War II and is still used to fill some natural fiber pillows.


  1. instead of 'soft as a baby's bottom' they should say 'soft as milkweed.' what a magical substance.

  2. It's lovely to see your pictures of the Northern hemisphere plants I've often read about but never seen. The milkweed is exquisite - I'd love to sleep on a pillow filled with its silky seed.

  3. The milkweed pod pictured above was sitting on a windowsill in my kitchen; after a few days I noticed that the silk and seeds were billowing out of the pod. I went to touch it and, marvelously, all came flowing out, as in slow motion, enlarging and moving forth. It was amazing. And then I had the seeds floating all over the kitchen, not at all easy to gather.