The Common Milkweed

Above, Milkweed in Bloom, June 9, 2019

Milkwwe flowers with bee

“The milkweed stands by the roadside, sometimes a solitary stem, but oftener two to five sustain and support one another  It is a plant of dignity rather than beauty… One does not pick the Milkweed for a most excellent reason. A striking peculiarity of the plant is the abundance of milk-white sticky juice that pervades it and which pours out of the slightest wound whether this be upon stem, flower pedicel or leaf vein…”

I read a lively botanical description of Milkweed, by Harriet Keeler from her book The Wayside flowers of Summer for the 67th volume of the LibriVox Nonfiction Collection.  You can listen to my recording here.  You can read Keeler’s description here.

Keeler writes that the milkweed blossom “is of peculiar construction” with a circle of “five hooded cups, nectaries, with an incurved horn in each.”  You can see what she is describing in this close-up photo of a cluster of Milkweed flowers.


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