Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gone to Seed

Seeds may well be the most fascinating part of a plant. Each seed has the potential to become a new plant and producing new plants is the ultimate measure of success for any plant population. These urn shaped structures contain hundreds of Blueheart seeds ready to make their own way in the world.

This is the start of the peak seed ripening season. I believe more seed matures during September and October than any other time of the year. Some of the prairie browns are the result of plants drying out in preparation for releasing their crop of seed.

Rose Pink, so showy early in the year, is loaded with pods of ripening seed. Some still show a strong green coloration, but others have turned brown and are beginning to split open.

Heads of the Wood Mint have turned a chocolate brown and are loaded with seed.

Green Milkweed pods will begin splitting in a couple of weeks. The large podded species of milkweeds are loaded with Milkweed Bugs busily consuming the seeds. For some reason, the bugs seldom bother with the Green Milkweed. Maybe the Green Milkweed loses fewer seeds to predators and that’s why it seems to spread so easily.

Side Oats Gramma is displaying stalks loaded with seed. This is my favorite prairie grass. Even though it appears to be a very delicate grass, Side Oats survives the toughest growing conditions. This was my grass of choice when I began my Prairie Garden. I now have a nice stand of this grass in front of my house and annually enjoy the various growth stages of this wonderful species.


  1. Love, love, love this post. I think being able to enjoy the seed heads during this time of year helps to relieve that aching in my heart that summer has come to an end. They make gorgeous fall 'floral' arrangements having a beauty all unto their own.

  2. Hi Steve...I like this post...it may mean the end of there season but is hope for another!!
    I have picked and dryed some teasel and a mixture of grasses to make an arrangement for the winter and am still waiting for the milkweed pods to pop but it looks that will be awhile !!

  3. Karen - Every year I make a collection of dried grass and wildflower seed heads that I arrange in a vase. Not really artistic, but I enjoy seeing the display during the winter.

    grammie g - My big milkweeds are still a little bit away from opening. There is an early blooming species here that releases its seed in late June, but the pods are not that attractive.