Monday, August 31, 2009

Seed dispersement from Cranesbills- (Erodium sp.)

Photo from PlantZAfrica

Good morning everyone. Can't believe it's been a week since I posted anything here. I did get out two mornings last week to mow, weedwack, weed and trim, and things look much better, but there is still more to do. We just need some cooler weather.

DH read me an interesting garden tidbit last night from the website below. I then went online this morning and found a couple websites for your reading/viewing pleasure about this wonderful plant.

... the methods by which plants disperse their seeds are legion, and so diverse are they that one has the feeling God must have taken a sheer delight in exploring all the possible solutions. There are plants in which the seedpod lies at the junction of a leaf with the main stem. When the weather becomes dry, at this point the leaf begins to coil itself like a spring, and this process continues until there is a length of quite sharp and well-defined corkscrew. The formation of the corkscrew appears to result from the structure of the stem. Two layers of different material react to the drying process in building up tension until the arrangement breaks free and flies off with some force, carrying it a fair distance from the parent plant. Then two things take place: first, the ground is softened by rain at the same time to receive the seed pod, and secondly, moisture begins to act upon the coil in such a way that it starts to unwind itself. The whole structure is of such a form that the somewhat pointed seed pod is resting point down and at a slight angle to the soil. The gradual unwinding of the coil serves to drill the pod into the soil where it takes root in such a way that the old withered leafy end becomes the visible stem of the new plant. (123)

123. A number of species are known, a characteristic example being a member of the Geranium family (Erodium sp.) commonly called Cranesbill, found in Europe as a weed.



Look at slides 6-12 to see pictures of this unique way of dispersing seeds.

Then we have PlantZAfrica with info and pictures of the Cranesbill, including the following:

The seed of pelargoniums has an interesting mechanism: the elliptical seeds have a feathered tail-like structure, which is coiled into a spiral. The tail causes the seed to be twisted around so that it drills into the soil in a corkscrew fashion and thus secures itself in the soil. For optimum germination, seed is best sown when fresh, although it may remain viable for up to 7 years. Sow seed in a light, well-drained soil with a high content of coarse sand. Firm down and level the medium gently. Broadcast the seed evenly, covering it with a layer of clean sand. The depth of sowing is usually one and a half times the size of the seed. Water thoroughly but gently and provide light shade. Germination usually takes place within 10 to 14 days but can take longer if temperatures are low. Plants grown from seed are generally more vigorous than those produced from cuttings, however, they take longer to flower, from 12 to 18 months after sowing, and may also display a certain amount of variation.


No doubt, there are some of you who already know this wonderful bit of information. I don't grow these wonderful flowers and thought this info was fantastic and I am thankful to our Creator who thought of so many wonderful ways to propagate the plant kingdom, to the delight of Himself and His human creations.

Have a great week.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL


Anonymous said...

That is so interesting! I'd love to be there when the plant triggers it's seeds and let's loose! By the way, I love your illustration for Matthew 6:26. I've been thinking about that scripture a lot, as more and more people I know lose their jobs.


FlowerLady said...

Good morning Jane ~ It would be wonderful to see that seed spreading in action.

I found that illustration with Matthew 6:26 online. You can click on the picture to go to the website. That was the verse that spoke to my heart. I have had my time and pay cut where I work since Feb.

Have a lovely week ~ FlowerLady

sweet bay said...

That is an amazing system of seed dispersal, isn't it? Phlox divarcata and Ruellia caroliniana expel seed from the pods too; during the summer I hear them popping all of the time while working in the garden.

tina said...

I did not know it. But your statement God must have delighted in figuring out ways to disperse seeds rings so very true. A neat thing seed dispersal!

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...



LeSan said...

I love that you took the time to notice this. So often we overlook the truly marvelous elements of life, simply taking them for granted. God put a lot of work into this. The least we can do is ooh and awe a little.

Nell Jean said...

I love saving seeds that explode their pods, putting them in paper bags and listening for the tiny explosions.

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