THE MILKWEED and Its Worm of Animals by Ada & Frank Graham

THE MILKWEED and Its Worm of Animals

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Another whole book about milkweed? Yes, and the Grahams amply justify a second look at the plant Selsam introduced on a more elementary level in 1967 by going beyond the properties that have made milkweed a favorite of food gatherers, a wartime kapok substitute, and a popular schoolbook example of pollination (the flowers have a special clamp which catches the bee's leg and pulls pollen free). We are introduced to ""Jim,"" a researcher who injects radioactive substances into milkweed in order to trace insect visitors, and subsequently to the insects themselves, including the milkweed beetle whose scientific name translates as ""four-eyed four eyes,"" and the monarch butterfly who acquires a protectively bitter taste from feeding on the weed's milky sap. More rigorous insect histories--and some of the same examples--can be found in Patent's Plants and Insects Together (p. 478, J-162), but the Grahams' conversational tone and focus on a familiar, observable habitat help make ""Jim's"" work accessible to more casual readers.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday