in Thoreau’s Journal:
Examined an Asclepias Cornuti pod, already opening. As they dry, the pods crack open by the seam along their convex or outer side, revealing the seeds with their silky parachutes, closely packed in an imbricated manner, already right side up, to the number in one instance of 134, as I counted, and again 270. As they lie, they resemble somewhat a round plump fish, with the silk ends exposed at the tail. Children call them fishes. The silk is divided once or twice by the raised partition of the spongy core around which they are arranged. At the top of some more open and drier, is already a little clump of loosened seeds and down two or three inches in diameter, held by the converging tips of the down, like meridians, and just ready to float away when the wind rises.