*****It looks neat but…
We’d been following this Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed) plant since May or so when we first found it.
Watching it bloom without developing seed pods until, finally...
it developed a couple of pretty pods.
This was all that was left of the plant. We hunted around and…
found the remains of just one pod.
Closer inspection showed that the mower blade had neatly sliced the pod and sheared the seeds from the silk. We only found one seed still attached to the silk. Hopefully the mower blade threw some of the seeds back into the woods where they can grow, bloom and develop seeds out of danger or the mowers.
The second group of plants we’d been watching were vines of Matelea gonocarpa (Angularfruit Milkvine) further down the road.
These vines had developed a few pods. We found a couple of pods lying on the ground under the vines. Only one had developed on a vine that had climbed up about a foot above the ground on another plant.
This pod was sliced lengthwise and thrown several meters away.
The pod had shriveled but was still slightly green
The seeds and silk seemed to be mature and ready to be dispersed in the wind.
One pod was still attached to a vine that hadn’t been cut by the mower. Hopefully, it will develop to maturity
Another pod had split so we cut it open further. A single seed with its silk lies beside the pod
Within a few minutes the silk fibers spread and the seed was ready to float away in the breeze.
The seeds arranged in the pod. The raised circular section in the middle of each seed is the actual seed. The ‘serrated’ margin on each seed certainly would help them to catch on vegetation as they blew in the wind.
Mowing roadsides is a necessary evil to help prevent forest fires and some plants pay the price. Hopefully, seeds from these plants survived and will develop into new plants.
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- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed)
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Matelea gonocarpa (Angularfruit Milkvine)
- Southeastern Flora: Asclepias viridiflora (Green Comet Milkweed)
- Southeastern Flora: Matelea gonocarpa (Angularfruit Milkvine)