When I was a kid, one of the things I looked forward to every fall was taking the fluff from the milkweed seed pods and releasing it into the wind to watch it fly.

It was so soft and fluffy, and pretty too. I didn’t know it at the time, but back during World War II, children were encouraged to collect milkweed pods.

The fluff, which is very buoyant, was used to fill life-vests and flight-suits, and during the war about 5000 tons was collected and used. Today, it is used as a hypoallergenic filling for pillows.

Occasionally, the kid in me still likes to take the fluff and release it to the wind.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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20 Responses

  1. LesleyAnn says:

    I used to do the same thing! We also saved the dried pods to fill with baby animals, snowmen, manger scenes, etc., to use as Christmas tree ornaments. Great memories.

  2. Evelyn K says:

    I remember doing this as a kid, too. However, I now live in a part of the state that doesn’t have them. Bummer…..

  3. Vivian says:

    The Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed, which is the baby Monarch caterpillar’s main food source (the leaves, I think). It’s interesting you posted the milkweed today because last week you had the beautiful pictures of the Monarch butterflies.

  4. Shailaja says:

    I used to do that as a kid, too, on another continent! Before releasing, I also used to whisper messages for my granny living in another town in the belief that they would be delivered to her. Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories. Play on!

  5. Teresa says:

    I have to say, that was always fun for us as kids, too. Now, I appreciate that milkweeds are food for the monarch caterpillar. We always try to keep them growing and free from pesticides. Beautiful pictures.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I am sure they will make fluffy pillows! Really good shots of the fluffs Suzanne!

  7. Not only do I get to look at your amazing photos, I get a history lesson too! Thanks!

  8. Doe of Mi. says:

    Wow,I haven’t seen milkweed in years. Loved your photos and
    your info on them. Don’t remember playing with them like
    you did – they always looked to spikey. Guess I thought my
    fingers wouldn’t like them.

  9. Melanie says:

    wonderful pictures!! I had never seen milkweed pods before this summer–as my new plants made some–the pods are just gorgeous!! How can anyone argue with a divine creator of our universe, when you observe things like that!!

  10. GinMT says:

    Oh the memories you brought back to me. My brother and I used to love fall in our Indiana locale, the large piles of leaves waiting to be burned, the crisp air, and how could I have forgotten playing with these? Thanks for putting a smile on my face remembering the fun we had scattering them to the wind.


  11. Peggy says:

    Great photos! The third one it my fav. I did the same thing when I was a kid. I miss that. Thanks for the memories. I sure didn’t know about the insids being used for anything. Cool!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Peggy,
      Isn’t that something to think that our soldiers were wearing life vests with milkweed fluff in them?

  12. Elaine Snively says:

    Did you know you can eat the pods when they are very young and just coming out? Also one
    Christmas I made 5-pointed stars from the dried pods, glued a pipe cleaner to the back of each and twisted the ends together, then put an acorn top in the center. They looked great on the Christmas tree.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Elaine,
      Didn’t know you could eat the pods, but I have made things with them too. When I was a kid, they made perfect little boats.

  13. Lola says:

    Thank you for this post! I remembered how in my childhood I looked forward to collecting horse chestnut conkers, to rosting potatoes over an open fire and to flying our kites – those were the highlights of autumn! Hugs, Lola

  14. Misty Dawn says:

    I can relate! I still have a fascination with Milkweed. I also LOVE photographing it!

  15. I love milk weed pods. I think the fluff inside is so beautiful! We have some growing along the edge of our property. I took some cool photos of them last Fall. I didn’t know they were used as a hypoallergenic filling…how wonderful is that!

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