Milkweed takes its name from its latex or milk-like sap. In autumn, it is easily recognized by the large greenish-gray pods which eventually dry and split open to reveal seeds secured to fine white silky filaments or floss. Tethered to this floss, the seeds drift with the wind, and so are dispersed. It was this distinctive floss which in 1944 became vital to the Allied war effort as stuffing for life vests and insulation for flight suits. Read the article.
Some ideas remain great despite the flow of years and cultural change. An example of this is how Vermont farmers are taking an innovation from 1944 during World War II and repurposing it for the general public. Stuffing cold weather parkers with milkweed floss has been rediscovered as a great way to stay warm!