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Article: Weeds We Don't Want: Honeyvine Milkweed: ADDED INTEREST

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Forum: Article: Weeds We Don't Want: Honeyvine MilkweedReplies: 5, Views: 53
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docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

June 28, 2010
8:41 PM

Post #7929367

I began school in Marion, Pa in 1942. The population of the village was a whopping three hundred with all heads counted. The war effort included half days off for honor students to pick milkweed pods that were open or about to open. The contents of those pods went into military winter clothing as an insulating material. Any student who gathered a certain forgotten amount got a ride in a real jeep. When in third grade I got two rides in a jeep and a certificate of honor for collecting to support the war effort. At the same time we also collected, cleaned and saved tin cans for the war effort.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 28, 2010
9:24 PM

Post #7929430

That's interesting! I was reading about that use of them, too, when I found them on our property.

tonileland
Uncasville, CT
(Zone 6a)

June 29, 2010
3:41 AM

Post #7929625

Thanks docgipe! Interesting historical trivia, although I'm sure the milkweed "down" used in the war effort was from the upright common milkweed that grows along the drainage ditches all over the country. The honeyvine milkweed has very little fuzzy stuff, just a couple of "hairs" to help the seed disperse.

On another note, all that harvesting and handling would most certainly have helped in the spread of the plant!!! Hmm, I wonder if we're responsible for introducing milkweed to Europe!

Thanks again for taking the time to comment.
docgipe
NORTH CENTRAL, PA
(Zone 5a)

June 29, 2010
4:26 AM

Post #7929673

I'm pretty sure that third and forth grade students picked pods of both vine and upright types. We had no adult or older kid supervision. A pod was a pod. Our only responsibility was to be back at the school by three thirty for dismisal with a bag of pods. Try that today. LOL All adjoining land to the village was farmland. We picked fence rows, briar patches and woodlot edges. There were no special image bags or buckets. The county commissioner for our area was always along for the jeep rides.
AubreyJamesShepherd
Fayetteville, AR

December 18, 2011
1:28 PM

Post #8934510

Thanks for sharing docpipe. tonileland might want to realize that the seeds would not have been used in the insulation of clothing or anything else. But Europe has its own related species that have supported butterflies related to monarchs for centuries. Milkvine pods have a significant tuft on each one and each can fly any distance the wind is able to carry it. The seeds may fall and the tuft of 'fuzzy stuff' may sail for a long way without the seed.
Attached photo shows a fence in northwest Arkansas with Cynanchum laeve Honeyvine milkweed with pods hanging. Notice no foliage remains on the milkvine while the truly invasive Japanese honeysuckle dominating background part of the fence remains green on December 15, 2011. The non-native honeysuckle supports ZERO native insects as a host plant for caterpillars. And its flowers are no better nectar sources than those of the honeyvine.

Thumbnail by AubreyJamesShepherd
Click the image for an enlarged view.

pastapicker
Columbus, OH

September 17, 2012
8:30 AM

Post #9277689

I remember my parents telling me the same about the use of the fluff during WWII. We would encounter the pods as we rambled through the woods and fields around our neighborhood.
It has established itself in my neighbor's flowerbed along our shared fence. I didn't know what it was at first, but once I saw the pods it came back to me. Now I have to reach over the fence every week or two to yank up the vine so it doesn't invade my garden or go to seed.

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