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natural pastries? (20)
BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)
...and now for something completely different (with a nod to LordPotty).

It's time to leave California and head back to Maine, but with a brief stop en route. In this post from Virginia we have...


...a batch of neatly layered pastries?

Looks like a dollop of luscious almond paste, surrounded by a buttery golden crust, baked to crispy perfection and gently arranged in a display tray for the voracious Sunday brunch crowd...

Probably not.

...maybe a bunch of pillows, each stitched around the edge to hold the soft stuffing in place, packed for shipping to weary customers...

Definitely not.

...then perhaps it's a milkweed seed pod, with the unripe seeds still moist and flexible, not yet ready to peel off and float on the wind...

Sorry to disappoint you if you were hungry or tired and looking forward to either of the first two possibilities. Sorry also for the intentional deception, but with this delightfully strange image, how could I resist?

The correct answer is not only biologically interesting, but should also appeal to TN's resident abstract natural art critics.

If you have doubts about which of the three descriptions fits the image, just look at the workshop for a more informative view and an additional note.


tech notes- supermacro mode, significant cropping, shadow/highlight adjustment, and contrast boost, one step sharpening, no color manipulation

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4-14-09
added a workshop pic of a fully ripe milkweed pod for contrast to the unripe pod of the original post

Altered Image #2

BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)
ripe pod for comparison
Edited by:BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)

Here is a ripe milkweed pod, in case anyone has never ripped one open to watch the seeds float away on the breeze. Note the desiccation and opening of the pod, the separation of the seed cluster, the color of the mature seeds and fluffiness of their ends. A couple of undisturbed pods are visible in the back left, out of focus, but still recognizable to anyone who has played with them. No color modification.

Altered Image #1

BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)
full view
Edited by:BobH Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 40 W: 8 N: 192] (650)

This view shows the entire seed pod; fingertips for scale. When allowed to reach natural maturity, the seed tops being gripped at the bottom left are dry and fluffy. The desiccated pod opens naturally and the now fluffy tops of the most distal seeds are exposed to the wind. As the dried seeds are blown out of the pod, they make way for the next layers to escape also. It is an excellent seed dissemination strategy, unless it's interrupted by probing scientists or curious photographers.


tech notes- slight shadow/highlight adjustment and contrast boost, one step sharpening, no color manipulation