Strange Beauty

WARNING! Do not touch or pick these. In their rather alien-looking beauty, they are toxic.
Pin ItOh Honey! See those?!! Pull over, please....

Those words aren't unfamiliar to my sweet hubby. But REALLY. How could I pass by these strangely GORGEOUS things?

I knew they were milkweeds.  I just didn't really know anything about milkweeds until I looked it up in preparation for this article.
This is a shot of the inside "bowl" without the fluffy seeds. It's almost like smooth wood. 

To me, the exterior looks as if they are wearing furry winter coats. However, in the summer Milkweeds attract Monarch Butterflies! In fact, it is the only plant on which these amazing creatures lay their eggs. {I picked these in late fall, though, when they had no leaves.}

Milkweeds contain a chemical that makes the Monarch taste terrible to birds and other predators. It can also be toxic to humans and pets {read more below*}. 

As I think back, I do believe our cat Benny may have ingested some because he was inexplicably drooling and ill one weekend. YIKES!
  Edit: As for me, I found out later it caused some major itching on the tops of my hands and wrists. Bummer!!
If you don't have pets or small children, it's a beautiful plant for landscaping and helping the Monarch. Their numbers are declining and migratory paths are changing for lack of habitat. You'll want to educate yourself about Milkweed first, though.

I have more planned for these amazing pods!
Stay tuned. You won't want to miss what's coming...

The Amazing Benny    Pin It
By the way, the Benito is fine and the other two kitties never had any problems. As you can see, Benny is our adventurer! He's created his own "pod" with the grocery bag. You can catch more of his antics *here.*

{WARNING* I've read that: Milkweed is toxic to humans without proper preparation; and yet with proper preparation it can be eaten. Hmmm... I wouldn't be trying that! I found that I react to it quite negatively, so we won't be able to help out the monarchs here!  Milkweed is rated low to moderately toxic to dogs and cats. So are tomato plants, lilies and tulips, I just discovered! Milkweed stems, leaves and roots are the dangerous parts -stay away from the sticky sap. By the way, you can be sure from now on I'll be googling BEFORE I pick nature's pretty things!}

Speaking of unusual floral beauty, check out how to make a ROSE gotta see it to believe it!!

You might also be interested in: Gorgeous Glass, Burlap & Weeds Wildflowers

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