Common Milkweed: Asclepias syriaca
This water colour, together with graphite pencil, composition is of a Common Milkweed native plant, in which I illustrate the changes and stages in the seed pods. With the use of graphite pencil for the background stem, it adds some visual interest of texture and detail. In the Fall the pods split open enabling the parachute-like seeds to be carried away by the wind.
The plant produces a poisonous sap in both the stem and leaves. The Milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch Butterfly, and the larvae of the butterfly feed on the sap without harm, which acts as a natural defense against predators. Once a predator, such as a bird, has tried to eat a Monarch Butterfly, it will shun the species for life after ingesting the bitter taste from the stored sap.