Photo of the Week – October 19, 2018

Dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata) seeds at our family prairie last weekend.

This is the season of flying fluffy seeds.  Asters, thistles, blazing stars, milkweeds, and other late season flowers are sending their seeds into the air, a few of which might actually land in a place where they can germinate.  Each of those seeds is attached to a filamentous structure, variously called a pappus or coma, depending upon the species of plant.  Those fluffy structures catch the wind and allow the seed to travel many miles, in some cases – though most land within a few meters of their origin.

Seeds that can float on the air are a nice adaptation for plants, but they are also attractive photographic subjects.  Over the last week, I’ve photographed the seeds of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata) and tall thistle (Cirsium altissimum) in some local prairies.  Here are a few of those photos for your Friday enjoyment.

Common milkweed seeds lined up inside their pod, nearly ready for launch.
A common milkweed seed temporarily hung up on big bluestem.
The coma of this milkweed seed got stuck and was drifting lazily in the breeze, having become separated from its seed.
Tall thistle seeds.  Many of these get eaten by insects before they get a chance to fly away, but at least one of these managed to escape – so far.
Dotted gayfeather seeds, backlit by the autumn sun.

5 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – October 19, 2018

  1. Eric Meola October 19, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I love your posts, Chris…terrific close-ups, very informative text!

  2. Kim D'Amico October 19, 2018 / 8:53 am

    me too! me too! :)

  3. Laura Bryson October 19, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    Great group of photos! So beautiful, and one of my favorite parts of autumn.

  4. Lynne Eggers October 19, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    Beautiful photos! Thanks.

  5. Connie October 19, 2018 / 2:11 pm

    Every message from you is a ‘mini-vacation.” …Thank you so much for sharing: DEEP breath!

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