Saturday, July 20, 2013

Milkweed - Asclepias Syriaca - Herbe à la Ouate

Here's a common, easily recognized one: common milkweed (fr: herbe à la ouate), Asclepias syriaca. It's very attractive to butterflies and as such is wonderful to have around, but it's important to keep it out of pastures as it is toxic to a number of grazing animals.

A. syriaca on the shore
There's a hint of red clover and some grasses and hawkweed in the bottom of this image, too, but the focus is on the milkweed. Quite a dramatic plant. I like the effect of the milkweed against the backdrop of the rapids.

Ants collecting nectar from the flowers of a. syriaca
Not only does this flower appeal to bees, it also appeals to ants. I hardly ever see them blooming around here without ants crawling around on them seeking nectar. I like the umbrel shape of the milkweed inflorescence.

A. syriaca inflorescence
I love how thick the flower is. The petals are proportionately extremely thick for their size, giving this flower a stiff, chunky appearance that I find really cool and unusual in a flower. It's quite a dramatic flower even up close. There's a drop of dew visible between the two nearest petals of the flower in the centre here.

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