The next species on my list of species that every kid (and adult) in Mid-Michigan should know by sight is the Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). This common species is found throughout Michigan and across eastern North America in a variety of soil types. It is recognized by its bright green oval-shaped leaves that are covered with downy hairs and its globe of pink five-petaled flowers. In fall its seed pods split open revealing dark brown tear-drop shaped seeds tipped with a feathery tuft of white hairs. These hairs act as a parachute, catching the wind to disperse the plant's seeds.
For more information about the Common Milkweed please see this species profile from June 2013.
|Common Milkweed leaves and flowers|
|A closer view of the plant's unique flowers|
|A Common Milkweed with one fully opened globe of flowers and one yet open|
|The teardrop shaped seeds tipped with a tuft of feathery hairs|
|Frost covered seeds|
|Winter stalks and empty seedpods|
|A nearly empty seedpod with only a few remaining seeds|
To see the previous species on my list of Species to Know by Sight look here.