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Our Milkweed Study – Featuring the Pods

Showy Milkweed Pod - Yosemite Valley
Showy Milkweed pod and dried flowers – Yosemite Valley 8/2011

Nature study while traveling is a gentle way to learn more about a new place, or in this case, a familiar place. Our family spends quite a bit of time at Yosemite National Park and consider it part of our big “backyard”. Learning flower names, tree species, more about the mammals who live there, and how they all work together has been a layer of understanding that over time has given us much pleasure. We KNOW this place and appreciate the beauty and awesome balance found in this most special of valleys.

As part of our milkweed study, I remembered an abundance of Showy milkweed in Yosemite Valley…whole patches in the meadows. We made a special walk along the Valley floor to observe an abundance of milkweed…it was hot in the sun but that is part of the late summer experience at Yosemite.

I was wishing were not a national park so we could pick some pods to dissect….we restrained ourselves and used our eyes and camera to capture our experience instead. There is so much to learn by using your senses.

Things we found interesting to think about and research a little more:

  • Insects we observed: milkweed beetle, some sort of bee/wasp
  • Size of some of the pods…was it a “good” year for milkweed?
  • How long until the pods burst open and shed their seeds?

Milkweed notebook page (1)
Mr. B did a comparison of the milkweed seeds (images from a previous encounter and internet research), dandelion seeds (found in our backyard), and the cattail (gathered at our local patch).

9 12 11 Milkweed in a Pot
We also have a small pot of milkweed on our back deck that we have been nurturing for two years. It did grow a bit better this year but still no blooms or pods. I am going to try again next year with new seeds but after reading about milkweed in the Handbook and online, we may plant them directly in the garden.

Milkweed notebook page (2)
All in all, I think the new Advanced Follow-Up suggestions went rather well for this challenge.

If you would like to see another milkweed entry we did a few years ago, you can click over here:

More Nature Study Button

10 thoughts on “Our Milkweed Study – Featuring the Pods

  1. I have a packet of seeds,I think we’ll place them in the garden in the spring. We couldn’t find any gardeners with milkweed. The boys did remember it from the Butterfly Pavilion. Good Memories!

  2. We really enjoyed it!! We didn’t have any flower to look at, I will have to remember come summer to go back and do those activities.

    Thanks again for all your hard work!

  3. Where can I buy those notebook pages in the photo? Are the made just for the Handbook of Nature Study?

  4. this is good.
    really good.

    we have a different sort of looking milkweed here. funny.
    today as i asked the children what we should look for on our nature walk we all agreed upon a milkweed.
    but we saw nere a one of them. then I fainly remembered that a friends land nearby could possibly have many of them. we are on a super mission this weekend to find those darn milkweed!!!

    we are completely ready to do a milkweed study.

    Yours is great! good journal entries and what a great photo!

  5. btw,we began our art/music today.

    and it’s so well organized.


    I would expect no less from you Barb:-)

    I’ll try to remember to hop over and give you a review soonish!

  6. We’ve visited 2 parks nearby and as I drive around I try to spy some on either side of the road (not too smart I guess since I really should have eyes facing front!), but we’ve found nothing…yet. We’ll keep trying, and certainly the walks are fun (we’ve found lots of other interesting things), but I’m wondering if perhaps we should temporarily stop this lesson and move onto your next one? What do you suggest? I know you said that we can join in as able, but I don’t want to get too far ‘behind’ with your autumn study.

  7. Ellen,

    Remember that the challenge could include any fall blossoming flower that you found interesting, hopefully with seeds that you can observe.

    Angie and her boys did an alternative study and it was great:

    Next summer you are all set for a milkweed study if it comes your way. You are never behind but always prepared.

  8. Thank you! We posted about our fruitless search for milkweed anyway since we really enjoyed just getting out on a nature walk. So thank you. Then we got an unexpected surprise from someone – milkweed of course – so we’ll finish up our notebook pages! This is a great resource. Thank you.

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