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when pick seeds from common milk weed

You can store the seed in envelopes, paper bags, or even plastic bags if the seed was fully dry. A good portion of the seed will be viable for several years after harvest. Alternatively, you can plant the seed directly into the garden if you like. That is a low maintenance method for saving milkweed seeds.

Then, just open up the rest of the pod. You should have all seed and no fluff. Pour the seed onto a plate to dry for a week or two in a cool dry location. Or just use a paper bag that is open to the environment.

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5 – Harvest the seed

If the pod is starting to open up on its own, or if you gently squeeze on each side of the seam and it easily starts to open, then the seed is ripe, and the pod ready for harvest.

It’s getting to be that time of year when all of our Milkweed plants start having their pods open up to have seeds gently float away in the Autumn breeze. Our Butterfly Weed (Asclepias Tuberosa) and Common Milkweed (Asclepias Syrica) seed pods have been forming for some time now. While the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias Incarnata) pods have just started forming within the last 2-3 weeks. So, hopefully within the next few weeks I’ll be gathering a number of different milkweed pods to harvest the seed.

Also, this process for cleanly saving seed works on all varieties of Asclepias. I’ve done it on common milkweed (Asclepias Syrica), Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and Swamp milkweed.

Then, firmly grip the base just above the seed. I do it so that the bottom edge of my fingers is in contact with the seed. With your other hand, gently peel the pod like a banana until it reaches your fingers. Next, firmly grip the feathers and pull.

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When to collect: Ripe pods split at the seam upon touch and the seeds should be brown or “browning up.” Do not collect pods in which the seeds are white, cream colored, or pale. Pods throughout one site will become ripe at varying times. Collect only ripe pods.


Milkweed Sap
Milkweed sap can damage your eyes. The initial irritation is a bit painful followed by a cloudiness of the cornea, which can take a week to clear up. You don’t want this to happen to you or anyone who works with you.

After you have made your collection, spread out the pods and remove any milkweeds bugs you find on the pods or seeds. The pods can then be re-bagged in the onion bags and hung up to dry.

Genetic diversity: Incorporate as much diversity as you can into your sampling of pods. You can do this by collecting pods from more than one site.

A. syriaca (common milkweed) forms genetically identical clones through underground rhizomes. To obtain a fair representation of the genetic diversity of this species, the pods should be collected from a number of clones scattered over several sites.