- Students will be able to describe the various dispersal methods for seeds.
Tools & Materials
- Walking shoes
Seeds are crazy cool and so are the methods that plants use to disperse them. Some species of conifers only release seeds during fires. Cottonwoods rely on the wind to carry their seed far and wide. And there are some cucumbers that explode under hydrostatic pressure that launch their seeds like missiles.
Most of the time though, this dispersal process is unnoticed. We walk by plants of unknown varieties every single day without a second thought. But when you look close, when you actually take time to notice the details, there are some very interesting presentations of seeds in the wild.
Walk campus and find as many different seeds as possible. It may be helpful to examine the ground around the plant as well. Often, seeds simply drop to the floor under the plant’s canopy. Of course, you might just discover seeds from plants that don’t seem to be present in the area. How did those get there?
Look for dispersal in action. How many dispersal and presentation methods can you identify in the wild? Photograph the varieties for a campus wild seed catalog that identifies the variety, presentation method, and dispersal method.
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