20150624-25 Milkweeds and Monsters

Common Milkweeds are starting to bloom.  My favorite patch is on a sandy south-facing shoulder of Riverside Drive where is it safe to park (on the “wrong” side of the road), allowing easy observation and photography.

Here are a few pix showing the nature of the blossom.

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Notice how the 5 sepals fold back to reveal a very complex structure.

Click on this link for a very interesting and well illustrated study of this plant:

It seems that I am in the same position as Craig Holdrege was nine years ago.
“I had casually observed common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca, Asclepiadaceae) but never paid too much attention to it. True, I was fascinated by its big globes of flowers and, in the fall, by its beautiful seeds that floated through the air on their tufts of white silk. I also knew that common milkweed is the main food plant for monarch butterfly larvae. But it was only when I was preparing for the 2006 summer course at The Nature Institute and when I noticed the flowers of common milkweed beginning to open, that I looked closely at them for the first time. I realized that the plant has a highly complex flower structure and, in addition, observed how the flowers were being visited by many different insects.”
I took the above images yesterday, Wednesday, June 24th.  This morning, the 25th,  more blossoms had opened and the characteristic perfume of milkweed blossoms permeated the calm air.
I stopped, hoping to see a Monarch or perhaps some bumble bees.
Imagine my surprise to see this Monster pausing to suck nectar from an almost “full” globe of flowers.
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It only visited the one globe and took off, for what I don’t know.

A little while later this Bumblebee came to refuel:

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A nice morning adventure!

(As usual, click on the images to get a close-up and on the red links to get more information.)

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