Naturalist Newsletter of April 21, 2008
written in the community of 28 de Junio, in the Central Valley,
8 kms east of Pujiltic, Chiapas, MÉXICO
about 800 meters in elevation, ± LAT. 16° 18'N, LONG. -92° 28'W.
The slender pods of our orange-and-yellow-flowered Tropical Milkweeds, ASCLEPIAS CURASSAVICA, are opening now dispersing their seeds. This is a noteworthy event for two reasons.
First, this is our main milkweed species, and thus is the chief host plant for the larvae of Monarch Butterflies, who also are common here, thanks to this milkweed.
Second, milkweed seeds are equipped with fuzzy, white parachutes that are wonderful to see floating on breezes across hot fields and pastures.
Above you can see a plant beside the trail through town, the top pod heavily infested with orangish aphids, a lower pod having just disgorged a number of parachuted seeds now awaiting a breeze to carry them off.
Like most other milkweeds, or members of the genus Asclepias, Tropical Milkweeds produce a dense, white latex from any part when injured.