Fluorescence Digital Image Gallery

Milkweed Fibers

Starting early July, over 120 species of milkweed flower into beautiful umbrella-like clusters of pinks, purples, whites, oranges, reds, and yellows that fill the air with a delicate, sweet odor. In September and October, the flowers develop into spindle-shaped pods and begin to dry. When the pods crack, a fluffy tuft of down-like fiber is dispersed along with little brown seeds. This fiber, known as the milkweed silk, was used to fill jackets during World War II and is still used to fill some natural fiber pillows.

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