03 July 2010

milkweed

this tall plant is not very attractive. it seeds itself prolifically and, in the early summer, comes up everywhere. its leaves and stems are very sticky with milky sap that oozes when a plant part breaks. the spherical heads hardly qualify as flowers. you can see here its three graduated forms - the head with the buds at the top and the fully bloomed flower at the bottom. even the pink of the petals is a little mauve-y and washed out compared to other pinks in the yard.

but i let this plant grow intentionally for its one saving characteristic: the aroma of this plant is heavenly and is one of my favorite summertime smells. i catch whiffs of it in sections of the yard. when i pass fields of it, i stop to breathe it in. of all the summer scents, milkweed is the one i wish i could bottle up to take out and breathe in during the cold and dead of winter.

9 comments:

William said...

What a great appreciation of nature and it's wonders. I love this!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Milkweed is the only food source for the caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly, so I try to encourage its growth in my garden, too. It has a mind of its own so it grows where it wants to, which is seldom where I plant or seed it!

chris said...

Blissed-Out Grandma: i do know about the monarchs and often find the remnants of their chrysalises on the plants. i also find monarch caterpillars on my dill plants!
William: thank you for the kind comment. in summer, i feel like i have a one-track mind: plants, plants, plants!!

Maggie said...

i grew up in a yard surrounded with milkweed! i love this, brings back great memories of childhood!

Nora said...

I don't know if a milkweed is a cultivated plant in the Netherlands, but it seems pretty enough for me.

Cherie Blessing said...

The true test is what you think when you're a child before you know things are "weeds". I always thought milkweed was heavenly--its scent, the decoration it brings to the fields, watching the monarch caterpillars munch, and playing with the snowing fluff in the fall. This post made me smile, Chris!

lauren scheuer said...

I've been trying to seed milkweed in my garden for years. It certainly does have a mind of its own. Maybe one day it will take hold!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I happen to love milkweed. I agree that the scent is wonderful!

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Nice. I am not aware of it. But I am becoming more aware thesee days.